London – CAGE today releases an exclusive interview with Mohammed Umar Farooq, the Master’s student in Terrorism, Crime and Global Security who was accused of terrorism at Staffordshire University. CAGE is also publishing the University’s letter of apology to him.
Farooq was singled out and questioned after he was seen reading a book entitled ‘Terrorism Studies’. He was so affected by the incident that he discontinued the course, but felt he should speak out since this could happen to “any Muslim lad”.
(To watch on YouTube click here)
In the letter of apology from the University, an official describes PREVENT as a “very broad duty, devoid of detail”. Farooq’s case illustrates how vague PREVENT guidelines can lead to discrimination and racial profiling.
This is not an isolated incident. CAGE has received almost 100 similar cases of over-reporting, some of which we have detailed in our latest report. The consequences for individuals are devastating and rip apart trust in civil society and those in positions of authority such as teachers, doctors and the police.
CAGE communications officer Ibrahim Mohamoud said:
“Farooq’s case demonstrates how the government’s PREVENT strategy tramples on academic freedom and results in profiling.”
“Ambiguous definitions and a loose understanding of Islamic political causes means Muslims are being referred through PREVENT simply due to their religious or political views that pose no danger to society.”
“The government has placed over 300,000 public sector workers in a position which could feed mistrust of public institutions and essential services. With only two hours of training deemed sufficient in spotting the signs of radicalisation, we are likely to see more over reporting and further criminalisation.”
Press coverage of the case:
The Guardian – Student accused of being a terrorist for reading book on terrorism
(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.)