Political correctness has created 'blind spot' for Islamic terrorism to flourish, warns Suella Braverman

2 March 2023, 09:54 | Updated: 2 March 2023, 10:00

Secretary of State for the Home Department Suella Braverman
Secretary of State for the Home Department Suella Braverman. Picture: Getty
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Political correctness has created a "blind spot" for Islamic terrorists to operate "under our radar" and should be banished, Suella Braverman has said.

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The home secretary warned not enough has been done to tackle a "highly co-ordinated" Islamist network within the UK.

“We have a blind spot in the system,” she said on Wednesday. “It has allowed certain Islamist groups to operate under our radar.

"There can be no place for political correctness in our national security. In fact, I’d like to banish it altogether."

It comes after a review of the government's counter-extremism programme, Prevent, which found Islamist radicalisation had not been tackled effectively.

Secretary of State for the Home Department Suella Braverman
Secretary of State for the Home Department Suella Braverman. Picture: Getty

The review, conducted by William Shawcross, found that Islamic ideology was being "misinterpreted, misunderstood or even overlooked" by government officials, who have been focusing more on threats from the extreme right.

In her speech, a copy of which was obtained by The Times, Ms Braverman criticised certain groups, including Mend (Muslim Engagement and Development) and Cage, which have criticised the government's Prevent programme.

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Ms Braverman said: “Groups like Mend and Cage have persistently pursued harmful and dishonest narratives, which until now have gone largely unchallenged.

"Their members have repeatedly been involved in the demonisation of Muslims who co-operate in counter-extremism efforts."

The home secretary announced a new programme to counter disinformation will be added to the existing Prevent strategy.

An independent standards and compliance unit will also be created for community members to report concerns and ensure the government tackle issues appropriately.

“For too long, there has been a misguided attempt to separate our efforts to counter both problems,” Ms Braverman continued.

"Extremism is not only dangerous because it can lead to violence. It is dangerous in its own right.

"And unless we deal with it comprehensively, we should not be surprised when it continues to endure and grow — with disastrous consequences for our shared norms, values, basic rights and freedoms."

Anas Mustapha from Cage accused Ms Braverman of "inciting and exploiting societal prejudices" in her speech, and said the group was proud to have opposed the "rise of the authoritarian surveillance state".

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