Quilliam Director Maajid Nawaz was invited to speak at a lunchtime discussion at the Legatum Institute on ‘Countering Radicalization’ on 6th November 2009.
Maajid made the following points by way of advice for the future of the British Government’s Prevent agenda:
1) The creation of a Government Prevent due diligence unit.
2) Caution over merely subsidising religious preaching.
3) Linking funds to explicitly promoting shared values of liberal democracy and challenging extremism.
4) Encouraging public private partnerships on the Prevent agenda.
5) Considering the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, the Ministry of Defence and other departments’ role in Prevent.
6) Detaching engagement with the Muslims communities from a religious prism as most Muslims don’t engage in public life through the religious lens. Religious leaders are merely one component of the community and not representative of the true diversity within a community. It is condescending and essentialist for communities to be defined merely by their religion.
7) Eventually aiming towards engaging on a cross-communities “issues” basis, in recognition of the fact that no one “community” has a monopoly over any given issue. Unless it is a consultation exclusively on a religious question, in which case the spectrum of opinion needs to be sufficiently broad.
8) Delivering a proportionate response to different forms of extremism, so as to not neglect the fact (in the rush for political correctness) that this country is faced with threats from one type of extremism far more than from another. However, also not to totally neglect other forms of extremism.
9) Differentiating between public engagement with extremists by politicians, and private engagement with extremists by security and law and order forces.