Political correctness ‘has created blind spot for Islamist extremists’

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A focus on political correctness has created a “blind spot” for Islamist extremists to operate “under our radar”, the Home Secretary has said.

Speaking on Wednesday at a counter-extremism conference organised by Robin Simcox, the commissioner for countering extremism, Suella Braverman said the entire concept of political correctness should be eliminated.

In an excerpt from her speech, obtained by The Times, Ms Braverman said: “We have a blind spot in the system. 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.”

According to The Times, Ms Braverman used her speech to announce a scheme aimed at combatting misinformation on the Government’s anti-terror Prevent programme, along with the creation of an independent standards unit to help communities report concerns about prevention efforts.

In another excerpt from her speech, Ms Braverman flagged concerns over “non-violent extremism”.

“Extremism is not only dangerous because it can lead to violence,” she said.

“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.”

Following her speech, Ms Braverman wrote on Twitter: “Tackling extremism in (the UK) is a vital part of protecting our security.

“I was pleased to speak at a @CommissionCE Countering Extremism conference today & wish to thank @RobinSimcox for his committed work.

“I look forward to further work on this crucial cause to safeguard our country.”

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A review into the Prevent programme was ordered by former home secretary Priti Patel in 2019 (Jacob King/PA)

Led by ex-Charity Commission chairman William Shawcross after being ordered by former home secretary Priti Patel in 2019, the assessment found Prevent was “out of kilter with the rest of the counter-terrorism system, and the UK terrorism threat picture” and “must return to its overarching objective: to stop individuals from becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism”.

Terrorism was wrongly treated as a mental illness and there was a “failure” by those working on Prevent to properly understand the nature of ideology in Islamist radicalisation which risks “several potentially serious consequences”, he said.

Speaking to MPs after the publication of the review, Ms Braverman said: “Prevent needs major reform. Prevent needs to better understand the threats we face and the ideology underpinning them.

“I will swiftly implement all of the review’s recommendations and will report on my progress a year from now.

“Prevent’s focus must solely be on security, not political correctness.”

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