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

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

‘Folk devils’: Anti-Muslim prejudice still rife 10 years on from London bombings

“I was preparing myself for death. I was thinking, ‘This is it. Today is the day that I die’.”

londonbus

An image of the bomb-shattered bus shown to the court during an inquest into the 2005 attacks.

A loud bang, human bodies tossed around as an explosion-shattered train jerks to a halt deep underground, black smoke, darkness and the sound of screaming. Those are Sajda Mughal’s memories of the morning commute to her London office 10 years ago on July 7, 2005.

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Al Jazeera

Conservatives accused of ‘political war’ on Muslims in bid for votes

London, United Kingdom – The British government has been accused of declaring “political war” on the country’s Muslim minority over tough new counter-extremism measures that include the launch of a unit to appraise and potentially blacklist Islamic organisations and community leaders, and further proposals that would give authorities powers to shut down mosques and silence preachers who fail to adhere to “British values”.

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Theresa May, pictured during a visit to a mosque in London in February. [Daniel Leal-Olivas / i-Images]

Critics also suggested that Theresa May, the home secretary, was using Muslims as a “political punchbag” in a bid to shore up right-wing support for the governing Conservative Party just six weeks before British voters go to the polls in a closely fought general election.

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Al Jazeera

Anger at government challenge to mosques over ‘British identity’

London, United Kingdom – A new row has erupted between the British government and Muslim organisations after the minister responsible for community cohesion wrote to hundreds of imams calling on them to do more to tackle violent extremism and demonstrate “how faith in Islam can be part of British identity”.

Eric Pickles pictured at an Iftar event last year [Photo: www.gov.uk]

Eric Pickles said Muslims in Britain should be “proud of their faith and their country” [Photo: http://www.gov.uk ]

The letter, sent by Eric Pickles, the secretary of state for communities and local government, to every mosque in England, provoked an angry response from the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), which accused the government of peddling far-right arguments about integration.

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Al Jazeera

Woolwich report fails to address torture and harassment claims

London, England – An official report into whether British security services could have prevented the murder of a soldier on a London street has been denounced as a smokescreen by critics who say it fails to address serious allegations of the intelligence agencies’ complicity in the torture and harassment of one of the men who carried out the attack.

Michael Adebolajo, left, Michael Adebowale.

Adebolajo, left, and Adebowale, said they killed Lee Rigby, a serving British soldier, in protest at British foreign policy.

Civil liberties campaigners also questioned the timing of the release of the report just one day before the government’s presentation to parliament on Wednesday of tough new counterterrorism measures to tackle the perceived heightened threat posed by Britons fighting in Syria.

“This is carefully choreographed. You’ve got the security apparatus investigating the security apparatus and deciding they need more money and more power so they can roll back civil liberties even further,” said Cerie Bullivant, a spokesman for CAGE, a human rights group.

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