In response to the government’s Places of Worship (PoW) Protection Security Funding scheme, CAGE have issued guidance for mosques to address concerns around data usage and counter-extremism involvement in the scheme. 
CAGE have concerns about the scheme’s self-professed roots as an exercise in counter-extremism. While CAGE do not oppose Mosques applying for the scheme, we call for a complete decoupling of the funding from any strings, in particular those pertaining to collaboration on counter-extremism policies.
For this reason we also oppose collaboration with organisations with long-standing relations with the Home Office that have embedded themselves in the scheme, and strongly advise mosques against creating additional partnerships with the police as part of the programme. This is especially important in light of the upcoming Protect Duty Bill, and attempts to enmesh mosque and public venue governance with counter-terror mechanisms.
Anas Mustapha, Head of Public Advocacy at CAGE said:
“The rise of violent attacks on mosques is driving many places of worship to enhance their security measures, but this cannot come at the expense of furthering the very Islamophobic laws and polices that have driven top down Islamophobia. Our guidance aims to educate mosque leaders to receive the support they need without being dragged into harmful counter extremism policies or have the data of their worshippers exploited by unscrupulous actors in the surveillance and AI industries.”
(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.)