Al Jazeera

Radicalisation monitoring software for schools lists Muslim activists as extremists

School children in the UK who search for words such as ‘caliphate’ and the names of Muslim political activists on classroom computers risk being flagged up as potential supporters of terrorism by monitoring software being marketed to teachers to help them spot students at risk of radicalisation.

[academyschools.blog.gov.uk]

[academyschools.blog.gov.uk]

The radicalisation keywords library has been developed by software company Impero as an add-on to its existing Education Pro digital classroom management tool to help schools comply with new duties requiring them to monitor children for extremism as part of the government’s Prevent counter-terrorism strategy.

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Al Jazeera

Toddlers targeted by UK ‘1984’-style anti-terror laws

Childcare workers in the UK are being encouraged to play the music of Freddie Mercury to babies and toddlers in their care in order to demonstrate their compliance with anti-terrorism laws requiring them to “actively promote British values”.

freddie mercury

Flying the flag for ‘British values’: Freddie Mercury was born Farrokh Bulsara in Zanzibar in 1946.

The suggestion can be found on an advice page for childminders published by an influential childcare website to help them fulfil new regulations introduced this month as part of the government’s controversial Prevent counter-terrorism strategy.

The requirements, which also affect nurseries and schools, place a statutory duty on childcare providers to report children who they believe may be susceptible to “radicalisation and extremism”, prompting some to liken the situation to ‘1984’, George Orwell’s novel about a totalitarian surveillance state.

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Al Jazeera

Play about radicalisation in schools cancelled a week after police ‘asked to see script’

The creators of a play examining issues of Islamic extremism and radicalisation in a London school that was mysteriously cancelled earlier this month have described how police officers asked to see a copy of the script and told producers they planned to place undercover officers in the audience.

homegrown

Homegrown had been heavily promoted by the National Youth Theatre which still features actors from the play on its homepage.

‘Homegrown’ was partially inspired by the case of three schoolgirls from East London who ran away to Syria in February and had been marketed as one of the highlights of the National Youth Theatre’s 2015 season prior to its abrupt cancellation just 10 days before its opening night.

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Al Jazeera

Schoolboy accused of extremism over pro-Palestine views

Schoolchildren in the UK who express support for Palestine face being questioned by police and referred into a counter-radicalisation programme for youngsters deemed at risk of being drawn into terrorism under controversial new laws requiring teachers to monitor students for extremism.

free palestine badges

‘Free Palestine’ badges were described as “extremist badges” by a Prevent officer. [www.palestinecampaign.org]

One schoolboy said he was accused of holding “radical” and “terrorist-like” views by a police officer who questioned him for taking leaflets into school promoting a boycott of Israel during last year’s war in Gaza.

The case reflects concerns raised by teachers and students and also in Muslim communities about the expansion of the government’s divisive Prevent counter-extremism strategy into schools, with critics complaining that teachers are being expected to act as the “eyes and ears of the state”.

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Al Jazeera

Counter-terrorism in the classroom: Teachers ‘spying on students’

London, United Kingdom – Teachers have claimed that they are being pressured to spy on their own students because of new counter-terrorism laws which they say risk scapegoating Muslim school children and stifling discussion of controversial issues in the classroom.

[academyschools.blog.gov.uk]

[academyschools.blog.gov.uk]

Delegates attending this week’s conference of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), the UK’s largest union of school staff, voted in favour of a motion criticising the government’s anti-radicalisation strategy, known as Prevent, after hearing that teachers were being used as “front-line stormtroopers” to monitor students for signs of extremism.

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The Independent

Surge in numbers of children monitored for ‘radicalism’

The number of children and vulnerable adults identified through a controversial government anti-radicalisation initiative as being at risk of being drawn into terrorism has surged by more than 25 percent in the past year, the Independent can reveal.

A graphic from a police guide for school staff showing possible indicators of 'radicalisation.

A graphic from a police guide for school staff showing possible indicators of ‘radicalisation’. [SOURCE: ACPO]

At least 940 people have been referred for assessment as potential violent extremists under the Channel programme since last April, according to figures obtained from the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) via a Freedom of Information request.

They include 467 under 18-year-olds, representing more than a third of all juvenile referrals since Channel, which is primarily tasked with addressing Islamic extremism, was launched in 2007.

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Exclusive

Hundreds of children monitored in UK counter-terrorism programme

Following my recent article for Al Jazeera on the British government’s Prevent counter-extremism policy and its impact on Muslim communities, I have now obtained official tallies of the number of children identified through the Channel programme as being at risk of being drawn into terrorism.

acpo-figures

Click the image to see ACPO’s full response to my Freedom of Information request.

One-hundred-and-fifty-three children under the age of 12 and hundreds more under 18 have been referred into the programme since its inception in 2007, according to figures released to me via a Freedom of Information request to the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO).

The breakdown of figures shows that 690 children aged 12-15 and 554 aged 16-17 were referred up to January 2014. A further 2,196 people aged over 18 were also referred.

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