Muhammad Afzal who is also a Birmingham City Councillor has called for the boycott of the prevent programme an anti-terror scheme, set up by government. The scheme now also includes Ofsted inspections of Madrassas (Islamic religious schools)
The Chairman of Birmingham Central Mosque claims the counter-terrorism programme is unfairly targeting Muslims, including school children.
Muhammad Afzal who is also due to become the Lord Mayor in May labeled David Cameron an ‘Islamophobe’ over the government strategy which has been created to help authorities identify people at risk of radicalisation.
The Prevent programme has had additional powers to include Ofsted inspections of out of School education environments including Madrassas, which the Chairman labeled ‘racist’.
The meeting was jointly organized with Stand Up To Racism in Highgate was attended by about 100 people.
Claiming the ‘disgracful’ legislation was discriminatory against Muslims Coun Afzal called on Birmingham MPs to fight against it.
Coun Afzal said: “I think the Prime Minister is an Islamophobe, he never talks about anything else but Muslim extremism.
“It is ridiculous that the government is saying Muslims are becoming radicalised. David Cameron says 500 people have gone to Syria to become radicalised, but where is the evidence? And out of a population of three million Muslims in the UK, what kind of percentage is that?”
He added: “The government wants to inspect madrassas, which is racist. Ofsted are losing their neutrality and what we’ll find is that madrassas will be closing down under this legislation which is totally ridiculous.
“We should oppose this legislation. Everyone should sign the petition and make individual efforts to resist it and tell your local MP to support us.”
Danny Rees a teacher and Stand Up To Racism member claimed the Prevent programme was adding to Islamophobia in schools and creating tension between teachers and students.
Describing the Prevent training Mr Rees said “It is a crash course on Islam, lasting one or two hours with a slideshow of how to spot a ‘good’, ‘bad’ and ‘moderate’ Muslim.
Mr Rees said: “It is not about far-right extremism, it is about Muslims. The Prevent strategy stirs up the teachers by making them more fearful, making them view their students through a lens and as people who should be monitored.
“Teachers are going about with crazy, ill-founded ideas of Islam in their heads and they instantly link a student’s discontent with religion. Students are already picking up animosity from their teachers.”
He added: “Prevent is radicalising children. School is meant to be a place where you can say anything but students are reluctant to speak to teachers and teachers are reluctant to speak to each other for fear of being reported.
“We need to allow open debate, we need to give people the courage to step up and talk about it and allow children their right to practice their religion.”
*Stand Up To Racism and Unite Against Fascism are organising a counter-protest on February 6 to celebrate multi-culturalism in Birmingham, to coincide with a planned ‘silent march’ by Pegida, a new right wing group led by former-EDL leader Tommy Robinson.