The two relevant reports are:
Strategies for Engaging Political Islam
Political Islam is the single most active political force in the Middle East today. Its future is intimately tied to that of the region. If the United States and the European Union are committed to supporting political reform in the region, they will need to devise concrete, coherent strategies for engaging Islamist groups. Yet, the U.S. has generally been unwilling to open a dialogue with these movements. Similarly, EU engagement with Islamists has been the exception, not the rule. Where low-level contacts exist, they mainly serve information-gathering purposes, not strategic objectives.
The Myth of Excluding Moderate Islamists in the Arab World The map of Islamist movements in the Arab world has changed over the course of the past three decades. There are wide gaps between those movements that use violence, look to change political regimes by force, and seek confrontation with the West, such as al-Qa’ida, and those movements that seek to practice politics peacefully, have respect for the sovereignty of the state, and are willing to work with the reigning political regimes. These latter, moderate groups share a belief in coexistence with the West.
The Institute of Race Relations’ (IRR) independent report produced on 17th October 2009 entitled ‘Spooked! How not to prevent violent extremism‘ raises concerns about how has described how the Government’s ‘PREVENT’ programme has led to “violations of privacy and professional norms of confidentiality” and presents evidence that “Prevent-funded services are being used by counter-terrorist police for information gathering”, through the institution of a little known protocol, the ‘Information Sharing Agreements’ (ASAs).
In short, some of the key findings of the report are:
- Prevent funding has not been driven by a decision-making process in which local agencies identify their own needs and access central government funds accordingly.Rather,local authorities have been pressured to accept Prevent funding in direct proportion to the numbers of Muslims in their area – in effect,constructing the Muslim population as a ‘suspect community’.
- Prevent decision-making lacks transparency and accountability. Decisions are taken behind closed doors rather than in consultation with the voluntary and community sector.
- Prevent,with its focus on a single group,has undermined this aspect of the cohesion agenda
- The embedding of counter-terrorism police ofﬁcers within the delivery of local services,the purpose of which seems to be to gather intelligence on Muslim communities,to identify areas,groups and individuals that are ‘at risk’and to then facilitate interventions
The report closes with some key recommendations which also includes identifying and addressing the specific needs of different communities for local service and community development
Throughout the past decade the European Union (EU) and Britain have
invested hundreds of millions of Euros and pounds respectively to
support the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the Israeli Occupied West
Bank and Gaza Strip. Much of these funds have been used to rebuild the PA security apparatus. Recent campaigns of arrests, detentions, torture and extra-judicial killings of political activists raise questions about the role of international actors including the Quartet Envoy Tony Blair, the EU
Police Mission in the Palestinian Territories (EUPOL COPPS) and the
UK based Libra Advisory Group. The current abuses bear the hallmarks of the atrocities committed in Iraq during the early years of the occupation.