LONDON (AP) – Britain’s government denies a program aimed at tackling religious extremism is being used as cover to spy on Muslim communities.
The Home Office said Saturday that the 140 million pounds per year (US$230 million) Prevent strategy was not intended to covertly gather intelligence on potential terrorists.
Prevent funds projects aimed at rejecting extremist ideology and asks youth workers and teachers to help young Muslims deemed to be vulnerable to extremism.
In a critical report, the Institute of Race Relations says the program had, in effect, established “one of the most elaborate systems of surveillance ever seen in Britain.”
It says community workers are under pressure to report details about the political opinions and mental health of young Muslims to police.