Prevent: A Fragmented Counter-Terrorism Strategy   [open pdf - 587KB]

From the monograph thesis: "The events of September 11, 2001 triggered a response by the British Government to develop a coherent and actionable counter-terrorism strategy. The United Kingdom's response was a counter-terrorism strategy called CONTEST. Prevent is one of four sub-strategies of CONTEST and is designed to prevent people from becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism. Now in its four tranche since its inception in 2003, Prevent continues to be the subject of criticism and controversy. Using a theoretical lens of systems theory, this monograph proposes that the strategy to challenge Islamic terrorism is overly reductionist and lacking a comprehensive systemic approach. This monograph concludes that, despite certain attempts to be inclusive, the Prevent strategy is continuing to divide the Muslim communities' support in the fight against Islamic terrorism. Prevent's whole of government approach is important but it falls short of being truly systemic in its approach. The strategy suffers from a lack of resources, a confusing narrative that fails to address the cross pollination of Islamic extremism to Islamic terrorism, and an inability to promote progressive Muslim thought. Moreover, Prevent suffers from wider reactive government policies that attempt to implement new legislation without due consideration of the wider strategic impacts. These reactive tendencies continue to fracture society and fail to look at the longer term, systemic approaches needed to mitigate the threat. Evidence suggests that with the appropriate resources, a clear strategy on extremism, and more concrete application of a systems based approach, Prevent could deliver a greater level of societal cohesion to set the conditions for success in the fight against Islamic terrorism."

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