6 September 2017 - Prevent Strategy and definitions of counter extremism, counter terrorism, Islamophobia and far-right extremism

APPG Officer, Baroness Warsi, a Former Foreign Office and Communities Minister, asked Her Majesty’s Government whether the Prevent strand of Contest is part of a counter terrorism strategy or counter extremism strategy.

Minister of State for Countering Extremism, Baroness Williams of Trafford, clarified that Prevent is part of the counter terrorism strategy, Contest, which safeguards people from being drawn into terrorism.

Baroness Warsi also welcomed the Government’s intention to tackle all forms of extremism, and went on to ask whether the acts, words, conduct and attitudes that are considered to be extreme must be defined in order to tackle hate crime effectively; what the Government’s working definition of Islamophobia is; and when the Government intend to agree and publish a definition of far-right extremism.

The Minister responded,

"On Islamophobia, the Government are absolutely clear that hatred and intolerance on the grounds of race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or transgender identity have absolutely no place in our society. Our hate crime action plan sets out our commitment to defeating all forms of hatred. Generally, the Government’s counterextremism strategy defines extremism as,

“vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs”.

This applies to all forms of extremism, including the far and extreme right wing."

In the debate, Baroness Afshar raised concerns about how defining Muslims as the focus of Prevent creates a sense of otherisation and alienation, and Lord Ahmed highlighted the arrests of serving members of the British Armed Forces because of their alleged membership of a proscribed terror group to ask whether adequate measures will be taken to ensure that there are no extremists serving in the Armed Forces.

Watch the proceedings here and read the transcript in the House of Lords Hansard here.