A shocking secret 65-page document that the Quilliam Foundation sent to senior Government Ministers and their special advisers in mid-June 2010 claiming to offer advice to the new Coalition government about the Prevent programme and which UK Muslim organisations the government should (and should not) be speaking with has been leaked and published on the Scribd.com website.
Yahya Birt has posted a short note over at Deenport and observed that the Quilliam document shows ‘up the intense competition for access, funding and recognition that the Prevent policy created, as well as government sucking in several (Muslim) community advisors who seem to be working against each other….’
Well, we knew that the Prevent programme had degenerated into a rather unedifying spectacle of various outfits trying to outdo each other in claiming to the government that they knew who the ‘real extremists’ were. More often than not, this has simply resulted in petty sectarian score-settling rather than anything seriously to do with understanding and combating the terror threat to the UK.
In an appendix entitled ‘The British Muslim ‘Scene” on page 59 onwards the Quilliam document fingers a large number of leading Muslim organisations as being run by ‘Islamists’ and therefore which the government should be very wary of engaging with. In several passages that the red-baiting Senator Joseph McCarthy would have been proud of, the Quilliam document even tries to finger some senior civil servants as being closet ‘Islamists’.
The former Labour government began to move away from using the ‘Islamist’ label a couple of years ago when they realised just how counter-productive it was and how it was only contributing towards alienating more UK Muslims. The Quilliam document urges the new Tory-Lib-Dem government to reactivate the ‘Islamist’ label.
At the same time, the QF document calls for a ‘Council of experts’ – and you don’t need to guess very hard about who they are hinting should sit on that council – to be set up to vet engagement with Muslim organisations. This is just like something straight out of a Stasi manual.
The Quilliam document is really quite staggering in its scope and the range of recommendations it makes about UK Muslims – several government departments are given specific policy recommendations.
I may blog in more detail about this in the coming days.