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Are hundreds of children ‘extremist’?

This article is over 8 years, 6 months old
Issue 2363

More than 750 school children have been reported to the authorities for “worrying” signs that they could be extremist.

That includes more than 100 under 12s and even a three year old—as well as almost 2,000 adults.

The Channel project is run by the Home Office and the Association of Chief Police Officers. 

It was set up after the 7/7 bombings eight years ago and rolled out nationally last year.

It encourages people to report those whose views might make them future extremists.

The project uses the language of “supporting vulnerable individuals”. It was made a central part of the government’s Prevent strategy when it was revised to remove the overt emphasis on spying on Muslims.

So, officially anyone who rejects “British values” could now become a target. 

Yet 67 percent of the 2,653 referrals relate to “Islamic extremism”.

Some people have been referred for visiting the “wrong” websites, or simply making pro-Palestinian statements at school.

They are then targeted for interventions ranging from counselling to theological argument. 

Often they don’t know that they have been singled out as a potential extremist.

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