Johannesburg – CAGE Africa is alarmed that the British government is attempting to remove Muslim children from their parents based on unsound and unscientific methods of evaluating “extremism” – and the implications of this for Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) programmes in Africa and other countries.

A recent report, entitled ‘Separating Families: How PREVENT Seeks the Removal of Children” presents case-based academic research covering cases brought through the British counter-extremism programme PREVENT, into the Family Courts of the UK.

The report also features startling testimonies from Muslim parents who have had or almost had their children removed due to allegations of “extremism”.

Alarmingly, PREVENT is used as the blueprint for CVE programmes globally, especially in Africa.

The report shows that in wardship cases, PREVENT may also invoke secret evidence, meaning that parents who are under threat of having their children removed are placed in the terrible position of not being able to see or challenge the evidence alleging their “extremism”. This undermines the rule of law.

The report follows up an earlier investigation by CAGE into the methods used to evaluate “extremism” by PREVENT, which revealed that these methods, known as ERG22+ or VAF, have not been adequately proven. Authors of the studies underlining these methods have admitted they are only “working hypotheses”.

Feroze Boda, spokesperson for CAGE Africa, said: 

“The report is a wake-up call to all those who are being drawn into the global CVE agenda, especially in African countries that have been made vulnerable to such involvement through tragic violence. Instead of solving the root causes of this violence as a way to stop so-called “radicalisation”, PREVENT, which is taken as a lead example by CVE practitioners worldwide, is deadly silent on foreign policy. Instead, it uses political violence to divide Muslims based on dubious notions of what is correct belief and what is not.”

“The separation of families based on notions of belief, religion and culture, is part and parcel of a long history of eugenics, where prevailing governments thought it right and just to disrupt the precious mother-child bond in order to entrench their power. Despite its insistence that it seeks to promote ‘resilience and ‘cohesion’, CVE takes its lead from PREVENT, and this report speaks the truth of what PREVENT is really all about. It is a must read for all those negotiating the approaches of the CVE industry.”

“We will continue to call for an end to CVE and PREVENT, in favour of a return to the rule of law and an end to aggressive US, UK and other foreign policy, which is creating the very violence that these governments profess to want to prevent.”


(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.)