Quilliam has today issued a briefing paper on the recent death threats received by Usama Hasan, a prominent Muslim imam in East London and outspoken critic of Islamist extremism, whose case was reported in today’s Guardian.

The briefing explains the background to these threats and discusses the implications for the government’s ‘Prevent’ programme. In its present incarnation, the Home Office’s current ‘Prevent’ policy relies on empowering extremists in order to tackle terrorism – while turning a blind eye to the bigotry and intolerance that such individuals promote in Muslim communities. Quilliam recommends that in future, in line with David Cameron’s recent speech in Munch, Prevent work in communities instead supports genuinely mainstream moderates who can not only challenge terrorism and the ideas behind it but who are also committed to defending key principles such as freedom of speech, freedom of thought and freedom of religion.

The briefing was written with the help of Usama Hasan who was formerly a member of Quilliam’s original advisory board until pressured into standing down by extremists.

The briefing is available to download here.