20th October 2009
The Guardian recently published several articles alleging that the Government’s preventing extremism strategy was ‘spying’ on British Muslims. Quilliam was cited in the articles and our stance on the issue is as follows:
1. Quilliam does not support indiscriminate ‘mass spying’ on British Muslims nor a ‘police state’. Ordinary Muslims are our first line of defence against Islamist terrorism and our allies against extremists. We condemn any efforts to conduct mass spying operations on innocent Muslims through the Government’s Prevent programme.
2. At the same time, if and when Prevent practitioners encounter Islamist extremists during the course of their work, they should not feel that, as a result of their involvement with Prevent, they cannot approach the relevant authorities with their concerns.
3. We believe that it is morally right for any individual, Muslim or non-Muslim, to alert the authorities about the activities and views of extremists of all stripes —be they far-right or Islamist — who condone, encourage or facilitate terrorism in Britain or abroad.
4. Quilliam calls on Prevent practitioners, and ordinary British citizens, to share any evidence of mass spying on Muslims with us. If such concerns are well-founded, we will bring this to public attention and seek to hold the Government to account.
Maajid Nawaz and Ed Husain,