Sunday 13 December 2015

Brent councillors to get 8 hours Prevent training

Although Cllr Harbi Farah has promised to arrange talks about concerns over the Prevent Strategy in Brent the Council is going full steam ahead in its implementation. Tomorrow's Cabinet is due to adopt a paper on 'Stronger Communities' which includes radicalisation in a bundle which also covers female genital mutilation, domestic violence and gangs. Councillors are also attending an 8 hour Prevent training on December 22nd.

The Council strategy fro Stronger Communities has for main objectives:
1. Promote common ground
2. Encourage participation in civic life
3. Tackle intolerance and challenge extremism  and other harmful practices
4.Promote our vision and understanding of cohesion.
Which all sounds well and good but clearly the strategy in the document which I publish below needs careful scrutiny, particularly in the light of the criticisms of Prevent set out at the public meeting.

In an Appendix the Council does seem to recognise some of the problems:

Brent is one of 43 Home Office “Prevent Priority Areas” of particular national concern for fermenting extremism and radicalisation. As part of the Prevent programme, Brent receives funding from the Home Office to tackle radicalisation through a range of supportive projects and interventions.

The Prevent and Channel programmes have been seen by some communities, in Brent as elsewhere, as a means of demonising Islam and for spying on youths. The concerns raised by communities must be heard and it is precisely this perceived one-sided approach, which undermines cohesion and divides communities. Indeed, the Government has acknowledged that ‘Prevent depends on a successful integration strategy, which establishes a stronger sense of common ground and shared values, which enables participation and the empowerment of all communities and which also provides social mobility.’

Brent will seek to minimise the risk of extremism by recognising that the drivers for extremist behaviour lie in the marginalisation of voices from the public square and that a positive approach, celebrating diversity while improving our diverse communities’ ability to recognise the signs of extremism and early radicalisation will foster resilience and reduce the risk of extremist behaviour. We will also recognise the geo-political drivers of extremist behaviours and create safe spaces for dialogue and debate, whilst challenging hate speech and those who seek to divide our communities.
However its Equalities Impact Assessment on the impact of the Strategy (which deems it positive) seems complacent in the light of fears that Prevent is fuelling Islamophobia (Christianity not listed):
Religion or Belief – impact: positive
According to research conducted by Brent’s Business Intelligence team; the main faith groups in the borough are Hindu (17%), Muslim (12%), Judaism (3%) and Buddhist (1%). Achieving the four strategic objectives would ensure that the strategy is fully inclusive of residents of all religious and faith backgrounds. Furthermore, inter-faith dialogue is a key outcome of this strategy
The December 22nd event at the Civic Centre to which all councillors and some council officers are invited is entitled 'Prevent: Ideology and Radicalisation in Depth by FIDA Management and the Al-Saddiiq Foundation.'

Session One from 10am to 4pm will be 'providing advanced training on extremism and related global terrorism' to include':
  • Ideology and its Development
  • Theology, Politics and Violence
  • Radicalisation (Concepts and Typologies
  • The Core Narrative of AQ/ISIS
  • Understanding Jihadist Narrative/Group
  • Case Studies and Group exercises
  • Assessing Vulnerability to Radicalisation
  • Extremism and Behaviour
After what I imagine will be a much needed half hour  break Session Two from 4.30pm to 6.30pm will be run by the Al Saddiiq Foundation delivering 'A local perspective: extremism and support for terrorism gaining traction with the borough of Brent' Apparently this will involve 'case-based scenario workshops.'

Here is the paper going to Cabinet tomorrow:


Anonymous said...

Sounds like a step in the right direction. Good work by the council I'd say.

Anonymous said...

Yes, good to be able to say well dobe and good job. Keep it going.