Joint statement by academics and public figures on the government’s implementation of PREVENT through the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015

PREVENT will have a chilling effect on open debate, free speech and political dissent

Last updated: 28/07/15 13:35

We, the undersigned, take issue with the government’s PREVENT strategy and its statutory implementation through the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 for the following reasons:

1. The latest addition to the United Kingdom’s counter-terrorism framework comes in the form of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 (CTS Act). The CTS Act has placed PREVENT on a statutory footing for public bodies to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism by tackling what is claimed to be ‘extremist ideology’. In practice, this will mean that individuals working within statutory organisations must report individuals suspected of being ‘potential terrorists’ to external bodies for ‘de-radicalisation’.

2. The way that PREVENT conceptualises ‘radicalisation’ and ‘extremism’is based on the unsubstantiated view that religious ideology is the primary driving factor for terrorism. Academic research suggests that social, economic and political factors, as well as social exclusion, play a more central role in driving political violence than ideology. Indeed, ideology only becomes appealing when social, economic and political grievances give it legitimacy. Therefore, addressing these issues would lessen the appeal of ideology.

3. However, PREVENT remains fixated on ideology as the primary driver of terrorism. Inevitably, this has meant a focus on religious interaction and Islamic symbolism to assess radicalisation. For example, growing a beard, wearing a hijab or mixing with those who believe Islam has a comprehensive political philosophy are key markers used to identify ‘potential’ terrorism. This serves to reinforce a prejudicial world view that perceives Islam to be a retrograde and oppressive religion that threatens the West. PREVENT reinforces an ‘us’ and ‘them’ view of the world, divides communities, and sows mistrust of Muslims.

4. While much of the PREVENT policy is aimed at those suspected of ‘Islamist extremism’ and far-right activity, there is genuine concern that other groups will also be affected by such policies, such as anti-austerity and environmental campaigners – largely those engaged in political dissent.

5. Without due reconsideration of PREVENT’s poor reputation, the police and government have attempted to give the programme a veneer of legitimacy by expressing it in the language of ‘safeguarding’. Not only does this depoliticise the issue of radicalisation, it shifts attention away from grievances that drive individuals towards an ideology that legitimises political violence.

6. PREVENT will have a chilling effect on open debate, free speech and political dissent. It will create an environment in which political change can no longer be discussed openly, and will withdraw to unsupervised spaces. Therefore, PREVENT will make us less safe.

7. We believe that PREVENT has failed not only as a strategy but also the very communities it seeks to protect. Instead of blindly attempting to strengthen this project, we call on the government to end its ineffective PREVENT policy and rather adopt an approach that is based on dialogue and openness.


Signing with institution name is for identification purposes and not for institutional endorsement.

1. Prof. Baroness Ruth Lister, Loughborough University and House of Lords
2. Karen Armstrong OBE, Author and Historian of Religion
3. Prof. Paddy Hillyard, Queen’s University, Belfast
4. Prof. Tariq Ramadan, University of Oxford
5. Prof. Humayun Ansari, Royal Holloway University
6. Prof. David Miller, University of Bath
7. Prof. John L Esposito, Georgetown University
8. Prof. Laleh Khalili, School of Oriental and African Studies
9. Prof. Arun Kundnani, New York University
10. Prof. Augustine John, University College London Institute of Education
11. Prof. Gargi Bhattacharyya, University of East London
12. Prof. Tariq Modood, University of Bristol
13. Prof. Robert Gleave, University of Exeter
14. Prof. Bill Bowring, Birkbeck College
15. Prof. John Holmwood, University of Nottingham
16. Prof. Richard Jackson, University of Otago
17. Prof. Gurminder Bhambra, University of Warwick
18. Prof. Marie Breen-Smyth, University of Surrey
19. Prof. Richard Tapper, School of Oriental and African Studies
20. Prof. Urfan Khaliq, Cardiff University
21. Prof. Julian Petley, Brunel University
22. Prof. David Boucher, Cardiff University
23. Prof. Tim Jacoby, University of Manchester
24. Prof. David Whyte, University of Liverpool
25. Prof. Imran B Chaudhry, University of Manchester
26. Prof. Eric Herring, University of Bristol
27. Prof. Arshin Adib-Moghaddam, School of Oriental and African Studies
28. Prof. Bob Brecher, University of Brighton
29. Prof. Ian Stronach, Liverpool Hope University
30. Prof. Debbie Epstein, University of Roehampton
31. Prof. Jeremy Keenan, School of Oriental and African Studies
32. Prof. Adam Gearey, Birkbeck College
33. Prof. Hilary Povey, Sheffield Hallam University
34. Prof. Peter Hallward, Kingston University
35. Prof. Basia Spalek, University of Derby
36. Prof. John O Voll, Georgetown University
37. Dr Tarak Barkawi, London School of Economics and Political Science
38. Abdoolkarim Vakil, King’s College London
39. Asim Qureshi, CAGE
40. Dr Lucy Delap, University of Cambridge
41. Dr Jim Wolfreys, King’s College London
42. Dr Rizwaan Sabir, Edge Hill University
43. Dr Katy Sian, University of Manchester
44. Dr Salman Sayyid, University of Leeds
45. Dr Anna Bull, King’s College London
46. Yahya Birt, University of Leeds
47. Dr Sadek Hamid, Liverpool Hope University
48. Dr Kalpana Wilson, London School of Economics and Political Science
49. Dr Fauzia Ahmad, University of Bristol
50. Bill Bolloten, Teacher and education consultant
51. Dr Nisha Kapoor, University of York
52. Dr Sarmin Hossain, Brunel University
53. Dr Charlotte Heath-Kelly, University of Warwick
54. Dr Narzanin Massoumi, University of Bath
55. Dr Tom Mills, University of Sussex
56. Dr Vian Bakir, Bangor University
57. Dr Fahid Qurashi, Canterbury Christ Church University
58. Dr Chris Allen, University of Birmingham
59. Dr Katherine E Brown, King’s College London
60. Dr Qasim Rafiq, Aston University
61. Dr Waqas Tufail, Leeds Beckett University
62. Dr.Féilim Ó hAdhmaill, University College Cork
63. Dr Piers Robinson, University of Manchester
64. Dr Erica Wald, Goldsmith’s College, University of London
65. Dr Paul-Francois Tremlett, The Open University
66. Dr Kasia Narkowicz, University of York
67. Dr Samia Bano, School of Oriental and African Studies
68. Dr Rania Hafez, University of Greenwich
69. Dr Naveed Syed, University of Birmingham
70. Dr Justin Cruickshank, University of Birmingham
71. Dr Emma Briant, University of Sheffield
72. Dr John Smyth, University of Huddersfield
73. Dr Heather Mendick, Brunel University
74. Dr Karima Laachir, School of Oriental and African Studies
75. Dr Nasima Hassan, University of East London
76. Dr Mark Carrigan, Centre for Social Ontology
77. Dr Peter Kennedy, Glasgow School of Business for Society
78. Dr Carl Morris, University of Central Lancashire
79. Dr Haitham al-Haddad, The Fatwa Council of Europe
80. Dr Ian Patel, Independent researcher
81. Dr Uthman Lateef, Stoke Poges Masjid and Islamic Centre
82. Dr Andy Higginbottom, Kingston University and KU UCU
83. Dr Michael Bailey, University of Essex
84. Dr Gwen Ineson, Brunel University
85. Dr Joanna Gilmore, University of York
86. Dr Monish Bhatia, Abertay University
87. Dr Therese O’Toole, University of Bristol
88. Dr David White, University of Birmingham
89. Dr Shamim Miah, University of Huddersfield
90. Dr Mark Hayes, Solent University
91. Dr Terese Jonsson, London Metropolitan University
92. Dr Andy Williams, Cardiff University
93. Dr Lucy Robinson, University of Sussex
94. Dr Fabienne Emmerich, Keele University
95. Dr Galina Yemelianova, University of Birmingham
96. Dr Humaira Saeed, Nottingham Trent University
97. Dr Sheryl Clark, Nottingham Trent University
98. Dr Khadijah Elshayyal, University of Edinburgh
99. Dr Eddie Bruce-Jones, Birkbeck College
100. Dr Cuneyt Cakirlar, Nottingham Trent University
101. Dr Nick Robinson, University of Leeds
102. Dr Naaz Rashid, University of Manchester
103. Dr Mansur Ali, Cardiff University
104. Dr Onni Gust, University of Nottingham
105. Dr Navtej Purewal, School of Oriental African Studies
106. Dr Radha D’Souza, University of Westminster
107. Dr Virinder S Kalra, University of Manchester
108. Dr Christopher Baker-Beall, Nottingham Trent University
109. Dr Nadya Ali, University of Reading
110. Dr Malcolm MacLean, University of Gloucestershire
111. Dr Teodora Todorova, University of Nottingham
112. Dr Julian Wells, Kingston University
113. Dr Sinéad Ring, University of Kent
114. Dr Robin Dunford, University of Brighton
115. Dr Patricia McManus, University of Brighton
116. Dr Reza Pankhurst, Author and academic
117. Dr Sarah Keenan, Birkbeck College
118. Dr Nadine El-Enany, Birkbeck College
119. Dr Samuel Solomon, University of Sussex
120. Dr Emily Wykes, University of Nottingham
121. Dr Sarah Ilott, Teesside University
122. Dr Anna Ball, Nottingham Trent University
123. Dr Ziba Mir-Hosseini, School of Oriental and African Studies
124. Dr Louise Purbrick, University of Brighton
125. Dr Muhammad G Khan, Ruskin College, Oxford
126. Dr Iona Heath, Fmr President of the Royal College of General Practitioners
127. Dr Hameed Al-Ameen, Cardiff University
128. Dr Jane Essex, Brunel University
129. Dr Adi Kuntsman, Manchester Metropolitan University
130. Dr Jan Dobbernack, University of Lincoln
131. Dr Julia Welland, University of Warwick
132. Dr Chris Zebrowski, Loughborough University
133. Dr Laura Zahra McDonald, Connect Justice
134. Dr Mohammed S Seddon, British Muslim Heritage Centre
135. Dr Muzammil Quraishi, University of Salford
136. Dr William Jackson, Liverpool John Moores University
137. Dr John Smith, Kingston University
138. Dr Robert Jeffrey, Sheffield Hallam University
139. Dr Daniel Nilsson DeHanas, King’s College London
140. Dr Nina Power, University of Roehampton
141. Dr Elena Loizidou, Birkbeck College
142. Dr Christopher Horrocks, Kingston University
143. Dr Atsuko Ichijo, Kingston University
144. Dr Amna Afreen, Harvard University
145. Dr Sarah Marusek, Independent researcher
146. Dr Aren Aizura, University of Minnesota
147. Dr Ramon Grosfoguel, University of California, Berkeley
148. Dr Lubica Ucnik, Murdoch University
149. Dr Sue Ashford, Murdoch University
150. Dr Thomas Gregory, University of Aukland
151. Anisa Mustafa, University of Nottingham
152. Milly Williamson, Brunel University
153. Fatima Rajina, School of Oriental and African Studies
154. Ali R Chaudhary, University of Oxford
155. Liam McCann, University of Lincoln
156. Layli Uddin, Royal Holloway
157. Christopher Olley, King’s College London
158. Randy Banks, University of Essex
159. Jimi Cullen, University of Oxford
160. Liz Morrish, Nottingham Trent University
161. Raza Kazim, Middlesex University
162. Atif Jaleel, Middlesex University
163. David Orr, University of Central Lacashire
164. Colin Creighton, University of Hull
165. Amanda Latimer, Kingston University
166. Lisa Tilley, University of Warwick
167. Fleeta J Chew Siegel, Kingston University
168. Jonathan Chu, Kingston University
169. Samuel Barry, University of Manchester
170. Alejandro Forero Cuéllar, University of Barcelona
171. Julie Ward, Member of European Parliament for North West England
172. Simon Barrow, Ekklesia Think Tank
173. Shaykh Abdalhaqq Bewley, The Muslim Faculty of Advanced Studies
174. Hajj Uthman Morrison, The Muslim Faculty of Advanced Studies
175. Salma Yaqoob, Stop the War – Birmingham
176. Shaykh Zahir Mahmood, Al-Suffa
177. Shaykh Abdassamad Clarke, The Muslim Faculty of Advanced Studies
178. Shaykh Shams ad Duha, Ebrahim Community College
179. Arzu Merali, Islamic Human Rights Commission
180. Vajahat Sharif, Tuckers Solicitors
181. Saghir Hussain, HMA Solicitors
182. Sufyan Ismail, Muslim Engagement and Development (MEND)
183. Azad Ali, Muslim Safety Forum
184. Ismail Patel, Friends of Al Aqsa
185. Imam Shakeel Begg, Lewisham Islamic Centre
186. Mohammed Kozbar, Finsbury Park Mosque
187. Sheraz Ahmed, Waltham Forest Council of Mosques
188. Usman Qureshi, Norbury Muslim Centre
189. Anjum Anwar, Women’s Voice
190. Tafazal Mohammad, Muslim Youth Skills
191. Ananya Rao-Middleton, Independent researcher
192. Gillian Klein, Race Equality Teaching
193. Martin Spafford, Retired History teacher
194. Catherine Duxbury, Colchester Institute
195. Baljeet Singh Gill, Ruskin College, Oxford
196. Tait Coles, Dixons City Academy, Bradford
197. Ali Mahmood, Marple Hall School
198. Fraz Farhat, Newham Collegiate Sixth Form Centre
199. Matthew Vince, Religious education teacher, Torbay
200. Kate Begley, Retired-former teacher
201. Robin Richardson, Insted Consultancy
202. Sadia Habib, Goldsmith’s College, University of London
203. Hafsah Aneela Bashir, University of Leeds
204. Hilary Aked, University of Bath
205. Christina Pantazis, University of Bristol
206. Ellie Cameron-Smith, University of Sussex
207. Colm McQueen, University of Sussex
208. Abida Malik, University of Nottingham
209. Lewis Hendon-John, Brighton and Sussex Medical School
210. Ibtihal Ramadan, Moray House School of Education
211. Rana Jawad, University of Bath
212. Thomas Martin, University of Sussex
213. Caoimhe Mader McGuinness, Queen Mary University
214. Sitara Akram, University of Leeds
215. Pallavi Mittra, University of Strathclyde
216. Miranda Iossifidis, Goldsmiths University
217. Azeezat Johnson, University of Sheffield
218. Katherine Jenkins, University of Sheffield
219. Nat Raha, University of Sussex
220. Tasnim Alahdal, University of Leeds
221. Gwyneth Lonergan, University of Manchester
222. Ajmal Hussain, Aston University
223. Dinah Rahman, Imperial College London
224. Rob Ferguson, National Union of Teachers, Newham
225. Mike Searby, University and College Union, Kingston
226. Bahar Mustafa, Goldsmith’s Students’ Union
227. Areeb Ullah, National Union of Students NEC
228. Samayya Afzal, National Union of Students NEC
229. Fran Cowling, National Union of Students NEC
230. Simon Englert, National Union of Students NEC
231. Shabina Raja, National Union of Students NEC
232. Beth Redmond, National Union of Students NEC
233. Haaris Ahmed, National Union of Students NEC
234. Barnaby Raine, National Union of Students NEC
235. Sahaya James, National Union of Students NEC
236. Sabrin Adam, National Union of Students NEC
237. Hannah Webb, National Union of Students NEC
238. Shelly Asquith, National Union of Students Welfare
239. Sorana Vieru, National Union of Students Higher Education
240. Noorulann Shahid, National Union of Students LGBT Committee
241. Susuana Amoah, National Union of Students Women’s Officer
242. Malia Bouattia, National Black Students’ Campaign
243. Shabina Raja, National Black Students’ Campaign NEC
244. Annie Teriba, National Black Students’ Campaign NEC
245. Yusuf Hassan, Federation of Student Islamic Societies
246. Mariya Hussain, King’s College London Student Union
247. Nadine Almanasfi, King’s College London Student Union
248. Rachel Williams, King’s College London Student Union
249. Shruti Iyer, King’s College London Feminist Society
250. Joe Simpson, King’s College London Student Union
251. Ali Milani, Brunel Students’ Union
252. Ayesha Fekaiki, LSE Students’ Union
253. Mahamid Ahmed, LSE Students’ Union
254. Nona Buckley Irvine, LSE Students’ Union
255. Hassun El-Zaffar, Sheffield Hallam Students’ Union
256. Sayed Alkadiri, Middlesex Students’ Union
257. Robiu Salisu, Swansea Students’ Union
258. Hannah McCarthy, University of Manchester Students’ Union Campaigns
259. Harriet Pugh, University of Manchester Students’ Union Community
260. Naa Acquah, University of Manchester Students’ Union
261. Hannah Sketchley, National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts NC
262. Aaron Kieley, Student Assembly Against Austerity NC
263. Natasha Brooks, University of Manchester Students’ Union
264. Ayo Akinrele, Liverpool Hope University Students’ Union Welfare
265. Jim Hirsch, University of Westminster Students’ Union
266. Salsabil Sila, University of Westminster Students’ Union
267. Lucy Hallam, University of Manchester Students’ Union Wellbeing
268. John Grayson, South Yorkshire Migration and Asylum ActionGroup
269. Amirah Mohamud, University of East London Students’ Union
270. Tom Phipps, Bristol Students’ Union
271. Mohamed Zain Dadas, School of Oriental and African Studies Events
272. Tasmia Salim, University of Central Lancashire Students’ Union
273. Kavita Bhanot, Writer
274. Hodan Yusuf, Journalist
275. Sheena Sumaria, Documentary filmmaker
276. Clare Sambrook, Journalist
277. Batur Talu, Independent researcher on social science
278. Hamja Ahsan, Activist
279. Rachel Harger, Defend the Right to Protest
280. Hannah Dee, Defend the Right to Protest
281. Ghulam Esposito Haydar, Myriad Foundation
282. Shaykh Haytham Tamim, Utrujj Foundation
283. Ms Hira Amin, University of Cambridge
284. Dr Sariya Cheruvallil-Contractor, Coventry University
285. Dr Seán McLoughlin, University of Leeds
286. Dr Mathew Guest, Durham University
287. Dr Laura Black, University of Manchester
288. Mr Javaad Alipoor, Writer and Theatre Maker
289. Mr Gary Saunders, University of Lincoln
290. Dr Joshua Skoczylis, University of Lincoln
291. Prof. James Dickins, University of Leeds
292. Retired UCU member Kingston University Mike Roberts, Kingston University
293. Dr Abdul B Shaikh, University of Leeds
294. Mr. Atif Hussain Khan, The University of Manchester
295. Ms Diane Leedham , EAL Academy
296. Dr Adnan Siddiqui, General Practitioner
297. Dilly Hussain, 5 Pillars News
298. Haris Chechi, 1 Ummah FM Radio
299. Sahar Al-Faifi, Muslim Council of Wales
300. Hassan Mahamdallie , Co-Director Muslim Institute
301. Dr Nadia Rahman , GP NHS Redbridge
302. Faisal Bin-reza , NHS consultant
303. Fahad Ansari, Solicitor
304. Zahid Akhrar, Founder of DOAM (Documenting Oppression Against Muslims)
305. Dr Soha El Sheikh, NHS Consultant
306. Shuruq Naguib, Lancaster University
307. Dr Farooq Ahmed, University of Manchester
308. Michael Mumisa, Cambridge Special Livingstone Scholar, Trinity Hall, University of Cambridge.
309. Prof. Sahib Mustaqim Bleher, Islamic Party of Britain
310. Yusuf Patel, SREIslamic
311. Dr Karen Evans, University of Liverpool
312. Paolo Fiora, FFCHS, Freedom from Covert Harassment Surveillance
313. Shehla Khan, Keele University
314. Prof. Alison Scott-Baumann, SOAS
315. Dr Shuruq Naguib, Lancaster University
316. Dr Adefemi Adekunle, Newman University
317. Dr Shaida Nabi, University of Manchester
318. Dr Hendrik Kraetzschmar, University of Leeds
319. Ben White, Journalist, writer, researcher
320. Carol Anne Grayson, Independent writer/researcher
321. Jenny Thatcher, University of East London
322. Ian Tindal, Anglia Ruskin University
323. Mohammed Ansar, Broadcaster & Activist
324. Taaliah Nazar, University of Salford
325. Sarah Earnshaw, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
326. Dr Kathryn Piquette, University College London
327. Shehla Khan, Keele University
328. Asik Miah, Community Activist
329. Mr Anthony C Heaford, Veterans For Peace
330. Dr Kristoffer Halvorsrud, Knowledge Centre for Education
331. Kevin Blowe, Network for Police Monitoring
332. Aishah Kadodia, City of London Academy
333. Imran Awan , Birmingham City University
334. Dr Abdul Haqq Baker, STREET UK
335. Prof. Deepa Kumar, Rutgers University
336. Abdurraheem Green, Islamic Education and Research Academy
337. Hamza Tzortzis, Islamic Education and Research Academy
338. Amir Saeed, University of Huddersfield
339. Ben Griffin, Veterans For Peace UK
340. Samantha Asumadu, Editor In Chief, Media Diversified
341. Anna Perera, Writer
342. Halimah Manan, Warwick Students’ Union
343. Jahan Alom, Community Development Worker
344. Palwasha J. Khan, Community Activist
345. Rania Khalek, Journalist
346. Mark Campbell, London Metropolitan University
347. Dr Mike Healy, previously University of Westminster
348. Professor Harriet Bradley, University of the West of England
349. Richard Haley, Scotland Against Criminalising Communities
350. Moyra Samuels, NUT Newham
351. Ashfaq Kazi, Queen Mary College
352. Leila Taleb, JUST West Yorkshire
353. Barbara Hosier, Brunel University
354. Dr Fiaz Ahmed, University of Durham
355. Dr Nicole Martin, University of Essex
356. Professor Sajjad Rizvi, University of Exeter
357. Tom Hickey, University of Brighton
358. Dr Saeeda Shah, University of Leicester
359. Dr Anne Gray, London South Bank University
360. Professor Jeroen Gunning, Institute of Middle Eastern Studies, Kings College London