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Prevent not fit for purpose

28th Oct 2016

Is it radical behaviourism? Or methodological, theoretical, teleological or perhaps even biological? Whatever classification of psychological behaviourism the Government’s Prevent strategy is supposed to be based upon, no one seems to know or least want to reveal the which system as bee agreed upon, if any.

But the science behind the so-called ERG22+ (Extremism Risk Guidance 22+) framework developed by the UK to assess the risk of ‘radicalisation’ has been described as flawed.

The ERG22+ supposedly provides the clues to look out for when assessing who is at risk of becoming a violent extremist. The exact contents of the study, however, have been deemed to be classified by the Government with no reason provided. As reported on our front page, some 140 academics and experts, including Noam Chomsky, have signed an open letter protesting about the lack of scrutiny underpinning the programme.

Since its conception, the whole Prevent Extremism Strategy has been found to be wrong-headed and misguided. The 3 million or so Muslims living in the UK have effectively been put under the microscope from cradle to grave, criminalising an entire community. Last year, nearly 4,000 people were referred for assessment by frontline service, including a number of very young children.

Behaviourism, which combines elements of philosophy, methodology, and psychological theory, is a systematic approach to the understanding of human and animal behaviour. It emerged in the 19th century and assumes that all behaviour is either reflexive produced by a response to certain stimuli in the environment, or a consequence of that individual’s history, together with current motivational state and controlling stimuli.

One of the most famous proponents of radical behaviourism that forms the core philosophy behind behaviour analysis was B F Skinner and his experiments with rats. It was largely based on the primitive concept of rote learning using reward and punishment conditioning to modify and shape behaviour. One of the main criticisms was the failure to examine the role of mental process and behaviourism has since been largely eclipsed by cognitive therapy.

In their open letter, the group of scientists warned that all those engaged in academic study should “continue to serve the interests of society by remaining faithful to the ethical standards and science of their traditions.”

The human rights organisation, Cage, criticised the lack of professional and peer scrutiny of the scientific methodology of ERG22+. Muslims were being used as ‘lab rats’ as part of the Government’s broader counter terrorism agenda, its spokesman Ibrahim Mohamoud warned.

The more one delves into the Government’s Prevent Strategy the more horrific it becomes, blowing the real threat of terror completely out of proportion. It has ballooned into a new virtual industry based on fallacies and “research” that is being kept secret, without engaging with the very communities most affected by it. It is not a basis for making any kind of policy and certainly not one as important as counter-terrorism.

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Over 120 people attended a landmark conference on the media reporting of Islam and Muslims. It was held jointly by The Muslim News and Society of Editors in London on September 15.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence event is to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to society. Over 850 people from diverse background, Muslim and non-Muslim, attended the gala dinner.

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