Braverman accused of ‘abusing’ parliamentary privilege over Prevent comments

Suella Braverman has been accused of “abusing her parliamentary privilege” after she mentioned two Muslim groups critical of the government’s controversial Prevent programme.  

In her statement to Parliament following the release of William Shawcross’s review, the Home Secretary said Muslim advocacy group CAGE was “an Islamist group that has excused and legitimised violence by Islamist terrorists.”

She also said MEND, a non-profit that helps to empower British Muslims, is an “anti-Prevent group with a history of partnering with actors of extremist concern.”

“The Home Secretary is abusing her parliamentary privilege, weaponising bad faith arguments against CAGE in order to distract from our efforts to hold the Government to account,” said CAGE Managing Director Muhammad Rabbani.  

“Cycles of violence will only end if we address the broader political issues that contribute to them. This is something the government has resisted because an entire ‘War on Terror’ industry survives on the myth that Islam and Muslims are inherently violent,” he added.  

MEND said it rejected the findings of the Shawcross review, adding that it is consulting its lawyers for legal action.  

“Instead of dealing with the many failings of the Prevent policy, the review has turned out to be a blatant attempt to smear MEND and other law-abiding Muslims organisations,” the group said in a statement.  

Singling out Muslim groups

The Prevent review was met with swift condemnation from charitable organisations, counter-terrorism experts, and human rights groups upon its release. It was described as being “deeply prejudiced” and having an “anti-Muslim bias.”

In the review, Shawcross accuses some critics of Prevent of being “Islamist groups” that are “radicalising influences.”

“There is a concerted campaign by some, including a number of Islamist groups, to undermine and delegitimise Prevent through the spread of disinformation, misinformation and half-truths. Accusations that have since been debunked continue to circulate in communities and on various online platforms,” wrote Shawcross.

Those named in the review for their “anti-Prevent advocacy” included Cage and MEND. Not surprisingly, the review does not concentrate on non-Muslim organisations that are critical of Prevent.  

Prevent has been criticised for years by prominent human rights organisations, politicians, student bodies, academics, lawyers and security officials. But advocates of Prevent hardly mention the non-Muslim critics and instead zero in on Muslim groups.  

”The report remarkably omits the wide range of non-Muslim organisations and individuals that have also opposed Prevent, exposing its clear failings and overt Islamophobic bias,” said MEND.

“This report frames Muslim groups as terrorist sympathisers simply for voicing legitimate concerns about Prevent. This is unacceptable in a democratic and pluralistic society in which the freedom to criticise Government policy should be cherished and protected.

“We will be considering this report in detail and exploring all means to forcefully respond to it, including consulting legal experts for a legal challenge.”


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