Deepening Divides? Implementing Britain’s Prevent Counterterrorism Program
The reciprocal and recursive relationship between radicalization and Islamophobia and the extent to which policy interventions exacerbate or ameliorate this relationship can be examined through analysis of terrorism prevention programs. This chapter examines Britain’s controversial ‘Prevent strategy’. It argues that the very establishment of Prevent, with its initial, exclusive focus on Muslims as a distinct, essentialized community and Prevent’s resulting contradiction to community cohesion policies both reflected and re-enforced anti-Muslim discourse within society. However, studying the ground-level ‘enactment’ of Prevent suggests that labeling Prevent as an Islamophobic surveillance program is too simplistic. Here, the ground-level contestation by professional practitioners and communities and the associated policy mediation and enactment is producing a more complex picture of Prevent’s reality and the possibility that it can be ‘de-toxified’.