In the Name of Preventing Terrorism, the British Government Is Funding Islamists

March 22 2023

In the wake of the July 7, 2005 London terrorist attacks, the United Kingdom developed Prevent, a set of programs that aim to discourage young people from joining “extremist” groups and to “deradicalize” those already in their clutches. Recently, William Shawross published his findings after conducting an extensive independent review of the program at the government’s behest. He found numerous troubling patterns, including a disproportionate and wrongheaded focus on right-wing extremists, with the result that reading the works of John Locke or C.S. Lewis is taken as a sign of incipient white supremacism, but reading the works of Sayid Qutb—founder of Islamism and the Muslim Brotherhood—is not considered a sign of anything. Then there is the problem that Prevent gives money to Islamist preachers and organizations in the hope that they will exert a moderating influence.

Kyle Orton comments on Shawcross’s findings:

First, and in the most direct sense, there are signs of deep confusion about what Islamism is, which is perhaps not that surprising when the use of the very word is still being contested. . . . Prevent’s tendency has been to secularize jihadists, [which] means that instead of experts on jihadist ideology, the program “frequently seeks guidance from academics or psychologists with a clinical or theoretical background.” . . . It has been a popular understanding in such circles that extremism is like a virus people can catch by watching the wrong YouTube video.

Some of the most severe problems are specific to Channel, a division of Prevent that intervenes with people flagged by the program’s other branches:

Shawcross found an extraordinary prevalence of anti-Semitism in the Channel system. Anti-Semitism “spanned across the full range of Channel cases we observed, regardless of the nature of the ideology. . . . [Anti-Semitism] unites both Islamists and [the] extreme right wing, as well as the extreme left, in a kind of modern-day Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact,” Shawcross writes. Individuals not only openly expressed their belief in anti-Semitic, Protocols of the Elders of Zion-type conspiracy theories, but their wish to blow up synagogues, admitted to having done hostile surveillance to enable same, and their desire to do violence against Jewish people, either collectively or individually.

Shawcross does not point this out, but the scale of the targeting of British Jews in hate crimes is staggering: seven times the rate of attacks on Muslims, and nearly one-quarter of all hate crimes, despite [Jews] being less than 0.5 percent of the population.

Read more at It Can Always Get Worse

More about: Europe and Israel, Islamism, Terrorism, United Kingdom

In the Aftermath of a Deadly Attack, President Sisi Should Visit Israel

On June 3, an Egyptian policeman crossed the border into Israel and killed three soldiers. Jonathan Schanzer and Natalie Ecanow urge President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to respond by visiting the Jewish state as a show of goodwill:

Such a dramatic gesture is not without precedent: in 1997, a Jordanian soldier opened fire on a group of Israeli schoolgirls visiting the “Isle of Peace,” a parcel of farmland previously under Israeli jurisdiction that Jordan leased back to Israel as part of the Oslo peace process. In a remarkable display of humanity, King Hussein of Jordan, who had only three years earlier signed a peace agreement with Israel, traveled to the Jewish state to mourn with the families of the seven girls who died in the massacre.

That massacre unfolded as a diplomatic cold front descended on Jerusalem and Amman. . . . Yet a week later, Hussein flipped the script. “I feel as if I have lost a child of my own,” Hussein lamented. He told the parents of one of the victims that the tragedy “affects us all as members of one family.”

While security cooperation [between Cairo and Jerusalem] remains strong, the bilateral relationship is still rather frosty outside the military domain. True normalization between the two nations is elusive. A survey in 2021 found that only 8 percent of Egyptians support “business or sports contacts” with Israel. With a visit to Israel, Sisi can move beyond the cold pragmatism that largely defines Egyptian-Israeli relations and recast himself as a world figure ready to embrace his diplomatic partners as human beings. At a personal level, the Egyptian leader can win international acclaim for such a move rather than criticism for his country’s poor human-rights record.

Read more at Washington Examiner

More about: General Sisi, Israeli Security, Jordan