CAGE https://www.cage.ngo Empowering communities impacted by the War on Terror Tue, 20 Nov 2018 13:10:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 https://www.cage.ngo/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/cropped-Screen-Shot-2015-07-14-at-01.30.16-32x32.png CAGE https://www.cage.ngo 32 32 Two British men successfully overturn Home Office’s decision to remove their citizenship: CAGE welcomes SIAC verdict https://www.cage.ngo/two-british-men-successfully-overturn-home-offices-decision-to-remove-their-citizenship-cage-welcomes-siac-verdict https://www.cage.ngo/two-british-men-successfully-overturn-home-offices-decision-to-remove-their-citizenship-cage-welcomes-siac-verdict#respond Fri, 16 Nov 2018 14:05:08 +0000 https://www.cage.ngo/?p=24837 London - CAGE welcomes the verdict by Mr Justice Jay in the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) yesterday morning, who ruled that two British citizens of Bangladeshi background, N3 and E3, must retain their British citizenship, despite efforts by the government to remove it. In his ruling, Mr Justice Jay emphasised that removing citizenship rights

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London – CAGE welcomes the verdict by Mr Justice Jay in the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) yesterday morning, who ruled that two British citizens of Bangladeshi background, N3 and E3, must retain their British citizenship, despite efforts by the government to remove it.

In his ruling, Mr Justice Jay emphasised that removing citizenship rights from the two individuals who had not been convicted of any offence – one of whom was born in the UK, and another born in Bangladesh – would have rendered them stateless since they both lost Bangladeshi citizenship when they turned 21.

This positive outcome takes place at a time when the government has been using this power to exile people with little challenge.

N3, who is currently abroad and prevented from returning to the UK, told CAGE this morning:

“I am innocent of any wrongdoing yet I had to endure one whole year of being forcibly separated from my family, my friends and my community where I have grown up, gone to school and lived for all my life. Had I truly been a risk to national security why was I never arrested or charged while I was in the UK?

“There’s no difference between me and a white expat, but I was made stateless. This treatments seems to be unique to Muslims. I feel that my country stabbed me in the back by removing my citizenship right after I left the UK last year to return to running my business and carrying out important aid work in Turkey.”

“I’m pleased that this is now over. I really had no idea that I would succeed, it’s a blessing from Allah. Hopefully now the courts will force the Home Office to stop taking people’s citizenship away without any right – it’s a practice that belongs to medieval times”

Moazzam Begg, Outreach director for CAGE, said:

“The state has removed the citizenship of hundreds of people and exiled them with the use of secret evidence. This means that not only have individuals been left stateless, but they are also unable to see or adequately challenge the allegations against them.”

“Despite almost one new counter-terrorism bill introduced every year since 9/11, the state was unable to establish that these men were guilty of any wrongdoing to justify its decision to remove their citizenships.”

“Though this ruling is a positive step forward, it masks a larger systemic problem founded on the principle that dual nationals or those with ancestral connection to another country are deemed second class citizens whose nationality can be revoked by an administrative decision. Such decisions usually lead to very serious consequences including death, arbitrary arrest and rendition, and occur when an individual is usually out of the country, so that mounting an appeal is near impossible. We continue to call for an end to citizenship deprivation as it violates the principles of equal citizenship.”

(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.)

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Blair’s role in the counter-extremism sector is normalising abuse and risks endangering British Activists https://www.cage.ngo/blairs-role-in-the-counter-extremism-sector-is-normalising-abuse-and-risks-endangering-british-activists https://www.cage.ngo/blairs-role-in-the-counter-extremism-sector-is-normalising-abuse-and-risks-endangering-british-activists#respond Mon, 12 Nov 2018 14:36:29 +0000 https://www.cage.ngo/?p=24826 Recent events in the past number of weeks have drawn attention to the true nature of the UK counter-terrorism sector and they present serious implications for activists and Muslims alike. CAGE has been speaking for over 15 years against the toxic global climate facilitated by the ‘War on Terror’ in which states are given free

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Recent events in the past number of weeks have drawn attention to the true nature of the UK counter-terrorism sector and they present serious implications for activists and Muslims alike.

CAGE has been speaking for over 15 years against the toxic global climate facilitated by the ‘War on Terror’ in which states are given free reign to interpret loose terms like “extremism” and “terrorism”, and apply them to individuals and groups who critique or question oppressive state policies.

These events are inextricably linked to this central pivot of the counter-extremism industry, which aims to entrench state power and police belief.

As such, there should be a call to action to all those concerned with protecting our rights to privacy, assembly, belief and dissent – to demand an end to counter-extremism and counter-terrorism .

The central role of the UK CVE industry globally and locally

In Britain, a number of organisations and individuals have been capitalising on the counter-extremism industry for years, and have been employing the deceptive language characteristic of the sector in an attempt to construct a state-sanctioned Islam, and in so doing set the groundwork for a system that is able to criminalise belief.

This has already manifested in the crushing of dissent abroad, and now threatens to do so at home.

A key player in the global and local CVE enterprise is the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change (TBI), and at its helm the former prime minister, whose dealings with despots and implication in possible war crimes are well publicised.

Now Blair has moved from a position of political posturing and cutting deals with tyrants, to being pivotal in the CVE nexus in the UK. A TBI representative, Dr Emman El-Badawy now sits on the “expert group” at the helm of the Commission for Countering Extremism (CCE).

Since its inception the CCE has come under intense criticism and ridicule over it’s role and purpose. Blair’s links to the CCE, will seal its fate as a wholly discredited body.

The targeting of dissent in Saudi Arabia

This is further underlined by the fact that Blair and his Institute are on the payroll of the Saudi government, and other despotic states, being paid millions to offer “strategic” advice and direction to the policy makers and leaders of these governments.

Governments including Saudi Arabia are increasingly using the language of the ‘War on Terror’ to silence dissent in the name of “countering extremism”. The US and British government and key public figures are well aware of this, and may well be complicit.

Given his record of human rights abuses in the name of the ‘War on Terror’, including the invasion of Iraq that killed nearly one million and led to the rise of ISIS, it is unsurprising that Tony Blair has rubbed shoulders with these regimes frequently despite heavy criticism of their human rights records. And even when he is advised to sever ties with these regimes, he has refused.

In the case of Saudi Arabia, a recent UN report showed how the kingdom is using “objectionably broad” counter-terrorism legislation enacted in 2014 to criminalise scholars and activists alike, with many being imprisoned for their ideas and beliefs.

And yet the Tony Blair Institute has openly lauded closer co-operation on counter-extremism between the UK and the regime.

In light of this, Blair’s links to this regime must be examined more closely, and a full investigation launched into his influence in the counter-extremism agenda there.

The influence of leading figures within the counter-extremism sector on the policies of foreign governments also takes place behind the scenes, and through other organisations.

Groups like McKinsey, which provide strategic advice and map influencers according to the bidding of foreign governments, are a case in point. A recent Mckinsey report identified so-called “dissidents” to the Saudi government and is believed to have led to the arrest of some and the cyber targeting of others.  

CAGE has consistently called for Tony Blair to face prosecution for his war crimes and in light of the Mckinsey revelations and the recent crack down on scholars, activists and journalists in Saudi Arabia, we reiterate the need for an urgent inquiry into any possibility that Blair and his Institute’s ‘strategic advice’ has caused actual harm to opposition figures in Saudi or in the Middle East region.

Blair’s US links look dubious in the background of the death of Khashoggi

Blair is also known to have a “close relationship” with Trump’s son-in-law and advisor on the Middle East Jared Kushner.

Recent reports claim that Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman phoned Kushner and national security advisor John Bolton after the brutal murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi, but prior to acknowledging it. He reportedly described Khashoggi as “a dangerous Islamist”.

Bin Salman claimed the journalist had links to the Muslim Brotherhood – claims that Khashoggi and his family have always denied – and he pleaded with them to preserve the US-Saudi alliance.

The fact that Blair has not spoken out against the murder, or broken his links with the regime, demands closer investigation.

It is clear that Khashoggi’s death was framed as being within the counter-terrorism frame, even though there was no evidence he was a member of a so-called “extremist” or “proscribed” organisation.

It seems that now there is little need to provide evidence of any kind if the words “Islamist”, or “extremist” or “terrorist” are employed. Apparently, all that is required to sweep away abuse is a little phone call between friends.

British activists may be at risk

The excusing of such a brutal killing within the lens of counter-terrorism, has meant that all due process principles have simply been cast aside and as a result there will likely be no accountability.

This erosion of the rule of law we have come to expect from the endless ‘War on Terror’ but now it has serious implications for activists.

Questions must also be asked of the British government as to whether it is aware of any British citizens and activists whose names have been provided to the Saudi government, and whether Blair, his Institute and his links to the McKinsey Mob, was instrumental in this.

We are moving into a realm where not only the word “terrorism”, but now the even vaguer term of “extremism” is being used to crush criticism and police beliefs, even if this means allowing serious abuse and even possible crimes to take place abroad.

Certainly it appears to entail leading figures on the counter-extremism sector like Tony Blair – who now has a representative on the ‘expert group’ at the Commission for Countering Extremism in Britain – refusing to clamp down on despots who adopt this narrative.

Concerned citizens must question this and demand that those purveying and profiting from the “counter extremism” industry be stopped immediately.

In a recent interview with The Times, Tony Blair accused CAGE of driving a wedge between Muslims and the government, and of promoting “extremist ideas”.

However, the branding of citizens who have the courage to call for accountability of officials like Blair as “extremists”, is utterly disingenuous, and only confirms his intentions to crush dissent.

There is no doubt that there is due concern, even within mainstream politics, that Blair and his ilk are at the bidding of tyrants abroad, and therefore threaten to bring that tyranny home.

 

(CC image courtesy of FCO on Flikr)

(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.)

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The Windrush scandal and the ‘War on Terror’ are more closely linked than you think https://www.cage.ngo/the-windrush-scandal-and-the-war-on-terror-are-more-closely-linked-than-you-think https://www.cage.ngo/the-windrush-scandal-and-the-war-on-terror-are-more-closely-linked-than-you-think#respond Wed, 31 Oct 2018 11:17:54 +0000 https://www.cage.ngo/?p=24796 This year, no-one can escape the fact that Black History Month is coloured by the revelation of the Windrush scandal; the re-writing of Britain’s history to exclude from it the role of the ‘Windrush generation’ of migrants from the Caribbean - a slap in the face to long-settled communities in the UK. Yet, the uptick

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This year, no-one can escape the fact that Black History Month is coloured by the revelation of the Windrush scandal; the re-writing of Britain’s history to exclude from it the role of the ‘Windrush generation’ of migrants from the Caribbean – a slap in the face to long-settled communities in the UK.

Yet, the uptick of all this is that it has inspired has been a conscious effort to recover the histories of resistance of Black people in Britain – to reconnect with a Black history from below. Sidestepping cliched references to the US Civil Rights Movement, communities have strived to piece together the specific history of antiracist resistance in Britain, and the role of Black communities in energising these movements – from combatting police violence, to establishing organisations to support Black communities.

It was also a history inextricably bound up with the fate of others fighting racist oppression at the hands of the British state, each struggle interconnected like pieces of a puzzle – it’s for this reason that the Windrush scandal and the ‘War on Terror’ are more closely linked than we think.

How the Anti-Racist and Muslim struggle has many overlaps and opportunities

Since the onset of the War on Terror just after the turn of the millenium, there has been an unbroken drive, headed up by Britain and the US, to identify one external threat after another in order to to justify their foreign and domestic policies adopted in the name of “fighting terrorism”. The frontiers have creeped from Iraq and Afghanistan into South-East Asia and slowly but surely across the African continent, in what commentators have described as a new militaristic colonialism, a perpetual war and a scramble for Africa.

Simultaneously, Britain took it upon itself to bring the war home, and isolate the apparent ‘enemy’ communities within – drawing, naturally, on that long proud history of British racism.

Through the targeting of, predominantly, Muslim communities with discriminatory legislation there has been a gradual rollback of legal safeguards, paving the way for a range of civil sanctions encompassing powers to deport British citizens and deprive them of their citizenship.

Whilst the legal roots of the Windrush scandal go back decades, it is against the modern political backdrop of the ‘War on Terror’ that recent governments have felt empowered enough to attack citizenship rights in the same ways they have to the Windrush generation.

Similarly the anti-migrant ‘Hostile Environment’, of which the Windrush scandal forms a part, share features of the PREVENT counter-terrorism programme – a flagship policy of this ‘domestic war’.

They both rely on atomising society and citizens, bringing about an environment where we are forced into policing one another on behalf of the state.

PREVENT has been legally imposed on nurseries, schools, GPs and more through the 2015 Counter Terrorism and Security Act, while landlords, universities and more are being recruited in to enact Hostile Environment policies.

Both rely on the perpetuation of a permanent state of suspicion, be they of alleged “terrorists” in the midst of society, or ‘illegal’ immigrants. Regardless of the target, their effect is to amplify racial and religious prejudice.

 

Living as second class citizens

One of the issues raised in the early days of the War on Terror was the question of citizenship and belonging.

Through exceptionalising ‘terrorism’ as a crime apparently beyond precedent, the government began to strip its’ British born and bred young men of their British citizenship. At times this citizenship stripping was suspiciously timed with either the kidnapping or extrajudicial killing of these men. So long as these men were eligible for other citizenships, through ancestry, the state viewed them as second class citizens.  It seems that this citizenship stripping was an opportunity for the government to wash its hands of the problem – echoing their treatment of the Windrush generation this year.

This policy, refined through the War on Terror, has now extended, predictably, to other aspects of law – as symbolised by Sajid Javid’s latest announcement to extend the state’s citizenship stripping powers to other crimes. These decisions, alarmingly, would not require prior approval from a judge or parliament.

 

Drawing strength from our mutual struggles

31 years ago Black History Month was started in Britain to build a sense of heritage and pride in Black schoolchildren, and bring to light a history that had been erased.

Today, Black communities are struggling against erasure in an even more literal sense.

The interconnections between Windrush, the Hostile Environment and the War on Terror illuminate the fragmented nature of state racism and oppression in Britain; how policies practised on one community always reverberate to impact another.

These developments cut to the heart of notions of ‘belonging’ and ‘identity’ of communities in Britain, and highlight the never-ending tightrope of their ‘inclusion’ in British society.

They have, and will continue to, provoke soul searching over the precariousness of citizenship rights, the nature of ‘Britishness’ – and the question of who the government is really speaking of when they reaffirm so-called ‘British values’.

The reality that Black people, Muslims as well as peoples confronting racism on the whole, have always drawn strength from our mutual struggles, and in building ‘community’ from below. There’s no better time than this Black History Month to strive to recapture that essence of struggle.

(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.)

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CAGE Africa highlights report that shows how UK CVE programme seeks the removal of Muslim children from their families https://www.cage.ngo/cage-africa-highlights-report-that-shows-how-uk-cve-programme-seeks-the-removal-of-muslim-children-from-their-families https://www.cage.ngo/cage-africa-highlights-report-that-shows-how-uk-cve-programme-seeks-the-removal-of-muslim-children-from-their-families#respond Wed, 31 Oct 2018 10:15:54 +0000 https://www.cage.ngo/?p=24791 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

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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.”

[Ends]

(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.)

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CAGE is having a huge impact on the PREVENT and CVE lobbies who seek to silence us – here’s why https://www.cage.ngo/cage-is-having-a-huge-impact-on-the-prevent-and-cve-lobbies-who-seek-to-silence-us-heres-why https://www.cage.ngo/cage-is-having-a-huge-impact-on-the-prevent-and-cve-lobbies-who-seek-to-silence-us-heres-why#respond Thu, 25 Oct 2018 17:21:27 +0000 https://www.cage.ngo/?p=24778 By Alim Islam, Senior Caseworker at CAGE   Recently, former Prime Minister turned political “consultant” Tony Blair said that the UK needed to engage in a "battle of ideas" against groups who were undermining the PREVENT strategy. In light of these comments, I thought this was an ideal time to pen an article of my

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By Alim Islam, Senior Caseworker at CAGE

 

Recently, former Prime Minister turned political “consultant” Tony Blair said that the UK needed to engage in a “battle of ideas” against groups who were undermining the PREVENT strategy.

In light of these comments, I thought this was an ideal time to pen an article of my recent experience at a Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) symposium.

CVE is the name given to programmes that follow the pattern and policy of PREVENT, except it applies on a global stage. There are CVE programmes being developed and implemented around the world. Many governments, academic institutions and private businesses are putting forth their ideas on how to supposedly stop the cycle of violence through countering “extremism”.

Not having an accepted legal definition of “extremism” has done little to stop government efforts to promote PREVENT and CVE programmes. I do not believe there can be a workable definition of “extremism” since the term itself is highly subjective.

The fact that PREVENT and its vague notion of “extremism” have now been exported globally is deeply concerning.

Like PREVENT, CVE in essence gives governments around the world (some of whom are hostile towards Islam), the power to decide what is “extremism” when it comes to Islam and Muslims, and what is not, depending on how it perceives “threat”.

The UK has in a sense delivered to many despotic governments a startling – and profitable – method of control, the result being a growing CVE sector that has alarmed even the UN.

I attended this symposium to understand and debate CVE and its effects. Over those two days, I listened to presentations and speeches from the Ministry of Defence, the Home Office, police force, intelligence services, private military contractors, academics and non-governmental organisations.

On this occasion it was useful to have CAGE there as a counter point to the ideas that these individuals and groups, who had much to gain financially from the CVE sector, were putting forward. Also such meetings give a deeper insight into the development of this sector and as a leading voice calling for an end to these policies, we must remain informed.

I was asked to leave because people felt uncomfortable talking in front of CAGE

At lunchtime on the first day of the conference, I was asked to leave the symposium by the convenor. When I queried as to why, the convenor said some of the the panelists had reservations about speaking in front of me, based on the organisation I work for.

I was even told to stop “fastidiously taking notes”, despite the fact we were all there to learn, discuss and debate.

Why did they want me to leave? Were they fearful that their ideas would not hold up to scrutiny?

I explained to the convenor that I was not prepared to leave because we were there to discuss how to stop the cycle of violence and CAGE had much to give in terms of a critical discussion on the issues at hand, otherwise it would be a disingenuous, one-sided affair.

This attempt to silence CAGE is something which we continually face. CAGE has been upfront in its call to end PREVENT since its inception, and we will continue to do so.

PREVENT is a flawed programme which alienates the Muslim community and it is also an affront to due process and therefore is a long term a threat to society itself.

That PREVENT is now being extended globally in the form of CVE, means that those who critique it, including us, have not been adequately heard on the global stage, especially by Muslim organisations and charities.

It is even more concerning that to other organisations, in countries around the world where the civil society sector is nowhere near as strong as the UK, PREVENT is being touted as an unparalleled success.

But in my role as senior caseworker at CAGE, I see firsthand the negative impact PREVENT is having on families.

Whether it’s “Yusra” who went through a three year ordeal to keep her children because of PREVENT, leading to her having a heart attack, or “Ghada” who was was temporarily taken into care leading to a deterioration in her physical and mental health, and long term issues in her family – the impact of PREVENT involvement in families and in young peoples’ lives has been traumatic and counter-productive.

 

A gathering of people who single out Islam as a problem

But why was CAGE asked to leave?

It was apparent throughout the two days that most of the arguments presented provided a lopsided view in favour of CVE. There was no discussion as to whether CVE programmes should exist in the first place.

Rather, everyone assumed that CVE models needed to exist to combat the threat of violence, despite there being a body of academic research which questioned the effectiveness and efficacy of CVE models.

The focuses of the presentations were overwhelmingly on Muslims and on violence allegedly committed by Muslims.

I informed those in the room that the focus on Muslims by the government is based on media perception rather than empirical evidence. I highlighted to the other speakers and those in attendance, for example, that Europol had released statistics in May 2018 concerning failed, foiled and completed terrorist attacks. These stats explicitly stated that ethno-nationalist and separatist attacks accounted for the by far the largest proportion (137) of the attacks.

More than half of these (88) were security-related incidents in Northern Ireland. In comparison, 33 were carried out by so called “jihadist inspired attacks” – most of them not using bombs.

What was the response from those in attendance to these facts? Was it an acknowledgement that the focus on Muslims might be misplaced? Was it that these models might but not actually work?

No, not at all. Rather there was an attempt to defend the focus on Muslims.

Manufacturing a faulty narrative in order to build a sector to deform Islam

An individual from military intelligence sought to reinforce the narrative, throughout the two days that the focus on Muslims was valid. He said that attacks by ethno nationalist and separatists amounted nothing more than pipe bombs going off in local authorities, which were small in scale whereas the attacks by Muslims were more impactful.

I rebutted that CVE models supposedly look at why someone carries out or attempts to carry out attacks, not at the the effectiveness of attacks.

As I said to those present at the symposium, it appears that PREVENT and its global counterpart CVE exceptionalise – and dare I say even capitalise on – violence allegedly committed by Muslims.

This is possibly due to the fact that ramping up fear around Islam works in many ways in favour of these individuals and groups who seek to benefit financially from “deradicalisation” efforts that make up PREVENT and CVE.

These efforts, couched in “safeguarding” language – but being far from it, as our recent report shows – essentially seek to remould Islamic beliefs.

What I realised during the symposium was that the decision makers were well aware of our work within the area, and they were well aware of our knowledge of their actual aims, and our methods to counteract them.

As someone that has been part of CAGE for a number of years, I have not always had the chance to really see the impact we are having on those we oppose, since much of my work is supporting survivors of PREVENT.

Sitting amongst these people, even being asked to leave and stop taking notes, showed me that CAGE is having a huge impact. It also shows me that those who gather for such symposiums are not interested in our arguments, and in fact they are afraid of them.

This gave me and the team immense confidence to continue as we have been.

Whether we are smeared in the right-wing press or criticised by former, and current, Prime Ministers, we will continue to do our work to protect the Muslim community from state interference in their lives and beliefs – and we will keep calling for due process and the rule of law to be upheld, towards our goal for a world free of oppression.

(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.)

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CAGE raises key concerns about PREVENT at European Education and Human Rights Forum in Vienna https://www.cage.ngo/cage-raises-key-concerns-about-prevent-at-european-education-and-human-rights-forum-in-vienna https://www.cage.ngo/cage-raises-key-concerns-about-prevent-at-european-education-and-human-rights-forum-in-vienna#respond Wed, 24 Oct 2018 11:46:22 +0000 https://www.cage.ngo/?p=24776 CAGE recently participated in an international conference on human rights in education in Vienna, where we raised key concerns around the implementation of PREVENT in schools in the UK.   Our key message was that PREVENT is turning education into an apparatus of policing and the policy has no place in an education sector that

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CAGE recently participated in an international conference on human rights in education in Vienna, where we raised key concerns around the implementation of PREVENT in schools in the UK.

 

Our key message was that PREVENT is turning education into an apparatus of policing and the policy has no place in an education sector that intends to further human rights.

 

The meeting, Organised by the Italian Organisation for Security and Cooperation, was held in Vienna and centred on the right to education as a tool to foster peace and security.

 

Participating States, OSCE institutions and its executive structures, international organisations, civil society organizations and academic experts met to discuss how to advance human rights education and improve access to education.

The opening sessions and panel discussed at length that human rights and access to education is not up to standard. Participants noted some states no longer use education to foster peace and security.

 

CAGE community relations officer Shezana Hafiz highlighted that ‘the UK has not just stalled but has failed in this regard’, due to the government’s PREVENT strategy, a counterproductive policy based on a flawed method of evaluating “extremism” knows as the ERG22+. PREVENT is also being rebranded globally as CVE.

 

She raised major concerns with PREVENT and CVE, explaining how the policy, which is underpinning and steering the education system, is turning it into a apparatus of  “ state” policing.

Educational Institutions should be safe spaces for all. They should promote healthy dialogue and critical thought. However what is increasingly being seen is that, in the name of countering “extremism”, the state is using PREVENT as a tool against children at school as well as young adults at university.

 

This happens through the criminalisation of certain beliefs, arguments, behaviours and questions by labelling them as “extremist”, under vague definitions of the term. This often means young people who challenge government policy are viewed as suspect.

 

She said the high number of  false referrals of children and students on allegations of “extremism” by PREVENT is having a devastating impact on children and students in particular.

 

Students are finding it difficult to organize events or academic discussions that challenge the government narrative or question domestic and foreign policy. State policy, she said, has in fact fractured the entire education structure through the stifling of dissent.

 

Students have been dismissed and events shut down, meaning that students or organisations that have tried to organize healthy dialogue and debate have been criminalised.

Shezana added that it is deeply worrying to know that PREVENT is being used as a blueprint and being replicated globally as CVE.

The impact of such coercive state policy and securitisation of institutions is not just felt in the UK. The hijab ban in France opened the floodgates for further legislation creating a systemic hostile environment from schools to wider society.

 

CAGE stated that the Committee of  Justice & Libertes (CJL) in France jointly shared our concerns that state policy is not only stripping away human dignity, but is violating human rights, especially within the education sector.

 

Shezana emphasised that in light of discussions around human rights in education, we  must take into account that the full impact PREVENT, a deep rooted Islamophobic policy that fits into the broader paradigm of the War on Terror.

 

She said the trauma suffered by young people who have been viewed under a microscope through the education framework will be counterproductive in the long run.

She urged the international community to take the matter very seriously, as the state policies steering education were crucial in shaping the sector.

All participants were urged to raise these concerns and to challenge PVE/CVE  to restore value in our education systems.

 

(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.)

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CAGE calls for British Mi5 torture case to be reinvigorated as Kenyan businessman is released without charge after 8 years imprisonment in Uganda https://www.cage.ngo/cage-welcomes-emotional-release-of-omar-awadh-omar-to-his-family-in-kenya https://www.cage.ngo/cage-welcomes-emotional-release-of-omar-awadh-omar-to-his-family-in-kenya#respond Mon, 22 Oct 2018 12:56:27 +0000 https://www.cage.ngo/?p=24763 Johannesburg – CAGE welcomes the release of Omar Awadh Omar from custody in Kenya, after he was cleared of terrorism charges connected to the 2010 bombings in Uganda. We call for a full and transparent investigation into his abuse, and into who was really responsible for the violence in Uganda that killed more than 70

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Johannesburg – CAGE welcomes the release of Omar Awadh Omar from custody in Kenya, after he was cleared of terrorism charges connected to the 2010 bombings in Uganda. We call for a full and transparent investigation into his abuse, and into who was really responsible for the violence in Uganda that killed more than 70 people.

Omar has lodged a case against the security services in Britain that were complicit in his torture. We hope that once he has recovered his strength, this case will be reinvigorated and the individuals brought to justice.

Omar was cleared of terrorism charges by the High Court in Uganda two months ago, due to lack of evidence. This decision was reached after he had spent nearly eight years in jail, after being kidnapped in Kenya, tortured and extradited to Uganda under the eyes of the Mi5 and FBI.

Omar’s wife, ummSahl, said:

“Omar is well, and in high spirits. It was very emotional to see him. He cried a lot when he saw us. He has lost so much weight and aged. But he is healthy and good. Alhumdullillah – we are just glad to have him home after so many years.”

Moazzam Begg, outreach director for CAGE, said:

“I had the pleasure of visiting Omar’s family in Nairobi several years go. It was clear to me that they were a loving, resilient family but their lives had been filled with a vacuum that has only come to an end now. But the process of becoming a husband, father and active member of society again may even be harder than the years in prison. I urge all those around his family to offer as much emotional and social support as they can.”

“I can only imagine what it must be like for Omar to be reunited with his wife and children after all these years. But I pray his ordeal is finally over and that the process of accounting those involved in his abuse can be allowed to begin, once he is ready.”

Feroze Boda, spokesperson for CAGE Africa, said:

“There are several people that are owed apologies and explanations as this whole case moves forward – Omar himself, his family especially his mother, who was interrogated and detained so that she was unable to bury her husband, and the almost 100 families who have lost loved ones to violence in Uganda in 2010, who still have no answers or closure.”

“We call for a thorough investigation into Omar’s abuse, into the conditions of detention in Uganda, also known as the ‘new Guantanamo’ – and finally, but certainly not least of all, into those behind the violence of 2010 which devastated Ugandans and which has facilitated the wholescale oppression of Muslims, in law and otherwise, in the country.”

[Ends]

(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.)

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Ex-Mi5 chief’s “radicalisation” comments show the counter-terrorism sector needs to take a long hard look in the mirror https://www.cage.ngo/ex-mi5-chiefs-radicalisation-comments-show-the-counter-terrorism-sector-needs-to-take-a-long-hard-look-in-the-mirror https://www.cage.ngo/ex-mi5-chiefs-radicalisation-comments-show-the-counter-terrorism-sector-needs-to-take-a-long-hard-look-in-the-mirror#respond Mon, 15 Oct 2018 11:29:37 +0000 https://www.cage.ngo/?p=24739 London - Recent comments by the former head of MI5 Baroness Manningham-Buller claiming that radicalisation can happen “between breakfast and lunch” show that the counter-terrorism sector is making increasing shrill and sweeping statements that have little basis in fact, but which aim to ramp up fear to justify the draconian new Terrorism legislation. These policies

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London – Recent comments by the former head of MI5 Baroness Manningham-Buller claiming that radicalisation can happen “between breakfast and lunch” show that the counter-terrorism sector is making increasing shrill and sweeping statements that have little basis in fact, but which aim to ramp up fear to justify the draconian new Terrorism legislation.

These policies aim to further the wholescale securitisation of society and strengthen a two-tier legislative environment that criminalises Islam and other beliefs that challenge the government.

Moazzam Begg, outreach director for CAGE, said:

“Up until now, security services and pro-government think-tanks have argued that “radicalication” occurs over a period of time. In the past, they have said that people pass through “conveyor belts” that lead to extremism. Now, we’re being told that people pass through that process and can become terrorists within hours – literally before its time for tea. Her memory may not serve her well but, in 2010 Manningham-Buller told the Chilcot inquiry: “Our involvement in Iraq radicalised a whole generation of young people … who saw our involvement in Iraq on top of our involvement in Afghanistan as an attack on Islam.”

“We would also like to remind the former Mi5 head that she was in office when ‘false intelligence’ led to the Iraq invasion, and whose employees were complicit in the torture, rendition and interrogation of British citizens in many countries around the world. Perhaps taking a long, hard look in the mirror, amending unjust policies and holding torturers accountable, might be the best antidote for the ‘radicalisation’ the state claims is reason enough to springboard further oppressive legislation and policies.”

(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.)

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CAGE response to National PREVENT coordinator’s letter about our video https://www.cage.ngo/cage-response-to-national-prevent-coordinators-letter-about-our-video https://www.cage.ngo/cage-response-to-national-prevent-coordinators-letter-about-our-video#respond Fri, 05 Oct 2018 17:00:39 +0000 https://www.cage.ngo/?p=24712 On the 20th of September 2018 we received a letter from Nik Adams, the National Coordinator of Prevent, to inform us of his objections to a video which showed testimony from a client of ours. Mr Adam claimed the footage would “damage community confidence” in Prevent and requested that we take it down. We issued

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On the 20th of September 2018 we received a letter from Nik Adams, the National Coordinator of Prevent, to inform us of his objections to a video which showed testimony from a client of ours. Mr Adam claimed the footage would “damage community confidence” in Prevent and requested that we take it down.

We issued a full response to his claims, both to the press and on our website (which also explained why we refused to remove the video), and to Mr Adams himself. For complete transparency we’ve even attached the letter he sent to us below.

 

Our Response:

2018-10-04 - Response to Prevent National Coordinator

 

Letter from National Prevent Coordinator Nik Adams:

CTPHQ response to CAGE film

 

(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.)

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CAGE demands transparency on children removed from families due to PREVENT https://www.cage.ngo/cage-demands-transparency-on-children-removed-from-families-due-to-prevent https://www.cage.ngo/cage-demands-transparency-on-children-removed-from-families-due-to-prevent#respond Thu, 04 Oct 2018 11:07:36 +0000 https://www.cage.ngo/?p=24707 London - CAGE is demanding through an FOI request, that the Minister for Children and Families, Ministry of Justice, Home Office, Local Government  and other relevant bodies release details of the number, gender, age, ethnicity and religion of children removed from their families due to concerns of “extremism”. Former head of Counter Terrorism Policing Mark

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London – CAGE is demanding through an FOI request, that the Minister for Children and Families, Ministry of Justice, Home Office, Local Government  and other relevant bodies release details of the number, gender, age, ethnicity and religion of children removed from their families due to concerns of “extremism”.

Former head of Counter Terrorism Policing Mark Rowley claimed that up to 100 children have been ‘safeguarded through the family courts’ and that 50 children have already been placed in foster care.

CAGE has raised concerns and provided evidence in our latest report that families separated by PREVENT based on concerns of “extremism” have been evaluated using the unscientific and unreliable ERG22+ method (also known as VAF).

In 2016, in a separate report, CAGE raised concerns about the employment of the ERG22+. We showed why the method was unreliable, to the extent that its own authors called its principles “working hypotheses” that could in no way predict risk. Our concerns were echoed by over 150 academics and professionals across different sectors.

We have also seen that in cases involving wardship of children, secret evidence has also been used. This means that parents are placed in the terrible position of being unable to see or challenge the evidence being held against them, while their children are under threat of being removed.

Publishing the data on the children removed from their families through PREVENT, is the first step in achieving accountability for these abuses.

Asim Qureshi, research director of CAGE, said:

“So far, we’ve been examining publicly available resources to try to follow this trend and uncover details, however many cases involving wardship of children are shrouded in secrecy. In secret, accountability doesn’t occur and abuse can easily happen. We require these details in order to hold the state to account.”

“It’s truly horrifying that a dubious and unsound framework for evaluating “extremism” is being used to separate families. Not only does the Home Office need to be transparent about the number of impacted families, but it must also immediately cease using that framework.”

 

CC image courtesy of delhaye on Flikr

(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.)

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