Dear IRR News subscriber,
This week, IRR News focuses on issues of vital importance to all those who engage with young people from BME communities and do not want to see them further marginalised and criminalised.
We lead with an essay by two educationalists who have just guest-edited, with others, a special issue of Race Equality Teaching, on ‘Equalities and British Values’. In their contribution, Bill Bolloten and Robin Richardson hone in on the contradictions and challenges involved when teachers in England are placed under a positive duty to promote ‘fundamental British values’ but are not allowed to do so on their own terms or in ways that enhance children’s critical faculties. The authors warn that if the Home Office’s Prevent counter-terrorism strategy becomes the framework for educational policy, it could lead to the blurring of the distinction between the security services and the classroom, eroding trust between schools and local Muslim communities in the process.
The expectation that professionals from a range of different sectors should be the ‘eyes and ears of the counter-terrorism system’ is one of the issues explored by Arun Kundnani in his panoramic review of anti-terrorism and counter-extremism measures. Kundnani is also worried that Prevent, with its flawed understanding of terrorism and extremism, could lead to censorship, surveillance and the criminalisation of many Muslim youngsters. And it is about criminalisation, in a different context, that JENGbA has voiced serious concerns in a letter to the Mayor of London about Operation Shield, an anti-gangs initiative that is to be piloted in Haringey, Lambeth and Westminster. It’s just ‘joint enterprise by the back door’ argues JENGbA. More information about Operation Shield is provided here.
Our regular calendar of racism and resistance, a fortnightly resource for anti-racist and social justice campaigns, highlights key events in the UK and Europe.
IRR News team