CAGE are very concerned to have read about Birkbeck College who have taken the cowardly step of forcing the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) to find an alternative venue for their Islamophobia conference, due to begin tomorrow.

The purpose of this conference was to tackle the rise of Islamophobia in the UK. The university got the local council PREVENT officer involved.

PREVENT is the UK government’s “anti-terrorism” strategy. It is incredibly broad and clearly politically driven, using a government approved, unchallenged definition of ‘extremism’.

There is a worrying trend that, even before the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill has been passed there is a clear ramping up of the PREVENT programme.

As CAGE’s PREVENT report shows, this is a comprehensive policy which has far outstripped its stated remit. “This is what PREVENT has always been all about,” says Asim Qureshi, Research Director at CAGE. “It’s always been a social engineering programme to legitimise the government sponsored version of Islam only.”

PREVENT has covertly shut down events organised by mainstream Muslim organisations, where issues like Palestine and Guantanamo Bay have been under discussion. It is notable that the IHRC event in question here was on Islamophobia and the racist scapegoating of Muslims. Is this now a forbidden topic for Muslims’ to be concerned about?

Furthermore the capitulation to PREVENT by a renowned University is something that should be a concern to wider civil society organisations.

IHRC are a long established organisation who campaign for human rights, their conference will be shown on livestream.

CAGE is building awareness and constantly highlights and challenges PREVENT. Find out more about the PREVENT programme on or read the full report here.

(CC image courtesy of Matt Brown on Flickr)

(NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.)