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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Middle East Eye

UK arts officials raised censorship concerns over cancelled ‘jihadi play’

Senior figures at Arts Council England, the UK’s main arts funding body, raised concerns that the controversial cancellation of a play about radicalisation amounted to censorship and discussed whether they should step in to “help find a way to get this play shown”, newly released emails have shown.

homegrown

The emails, obtained via a Freedom of Information request, also reveal criticism of the National Youth Theatre over its handling of ‘Homegrown’, a production set and staged in a London school which had been promoted as a highlight of the company’s summer season until its abrupt cancellation just days before its opening night.

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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

‘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

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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