General Article Should Britain work with 'extremists' to prevent terrorism?

Topic Selected: Terrorism
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By Jamie Bartlett and Carl Miller

About the authors

Jamie Bartlett is head of the independence programme at the think tank Demos.

Very shortly the Government will release its review of ‘Prevent’. This is the controversial strand of Britain’s counter-terrorism strategy that aims to stop terrorism before it occurs. Prevent is based on the idea that Muslim communities themselves can be very effective in helping ‘stem the tide’ of potential recruits, by confronting and challenging extremism, building resilience to al-Qaeda’s message among young Muslims, and working with local authorities or police when they see signs of such violent radicalisation.

Since 2005, this type of work has been central to the UK’s CONTEST counter-terrorism strategy, and in 2008/09 as much as £140m was spent on it. Although it has been much criticised and perhaps maligned for both its philosophy and its implementation, the Coalition is committed to continuing Prevent.

However, the review has been delayed – ...

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