Furthermore, as Chairman of the Charity Commission, a quarter of the most formal statutory investigations that were initiated in his first two years in the role (2012-2014) were launched against Muslim charity organisations, often on the basis of guilt by association, leading to the Claystone thinktank to accuse the commission of institutional bias.
On the face of it then, Shawcross appears to be a poor choice to lead an independent inquiry on a strategy that is based on Islamophobic notions about the nature of Muslims and Islam, that has institutionalised a discursive association between Muslims, Islam, extremism, and terrorism in local authorities, in higher education, schools, and the National Health Service with dire consequences for Muslims, and in doing so, has further entrenched the institutionalisation of Islamophobia. This view, however, can only be sustained if one actually considers the review to be an independent process with a wide ranging remit to look at all of the evidence on the delivery and impact of the strategy.
Instead, Shawcross is a political appointment whose selection was determined by a longer term desire of the government to defend the Prevent Strategy because it functions as a key intelligence gathering tool in Muslim communities and public institutions. An independent inquiry led by Shawcross affords it a veneer of legitimacy in the face of widespread critique from academics, human rights organisations, and Muslim communities.