After the 7/7 bombings on the London subway in 2005, the U.K. launched a 63 million pound program to combat terrorism. The program, named “PREVENT”, was recently reviewed. Subsequently, Britain’s Home Secretary, Theresa May, admitted that the program had failed. Here’s why:
The program’s strategy aimed to counter terrorist groups largely by funding so-called “moderate” Muslim organizations in an attempt to work jointly toward its goals. PREVENT also financed overseas operations that were allegedly designed to stem terrorist activity in the U.K.
As it turned out, much of the program’s money went to support non-violent radical organizations that share the same hard-line Islamist ideology as Al-Qaeda and other terrorist entities. Further, the program’s emphasis on international projects merely wasted precious pounds and “diverted valuable resources” away from the prevention of home-grown terrorism, a growing concern in the U.K.
Home Secretary May confessed that the PREVENT program clearly failed to recognize how terrorist groups make use of the extremist ideology promoted by non-violent radical organizations. Therefore, the program was unsuccessful in convincing some parts of the Muslim community that terrorism is unacceptable and wrong. Additionally, the program only targeted a small segment of the audience that is susceptible to terrorist propaganda.
As a result of the review’s findings, there will be a significant shift in the program’s direction. PREVENT’s new strategy will tackle not only terrorism, but its underlying ideology. In so doing, it will focus on non-violent extremist organizations. It will also examine how schools, colleges, and mosques are addressing the problem of Islamic extremism. It will additionally evaluate the role of law enforcement as well as that of other government entities in combating the problem.