The British government’s counter-extremism Prevent strategy has long attracted controversy. The main driving force behind the anti-Prevent lobby have been Islamist groups such as CAGE and the Islamic Human Rights Commission. The National Union of Students also launched the ‘Students Not Suspects’ campaign that attacked Prevent.
The main criticism centres on the idea that the prevent strategy is a tool with which the government can spy on the UK’s Muslim communities to suppress any criticism of UK foreign or domestic policy — essentially a strategy to keep Muslims in line. It is worth noting how often this is accompanied by the usual anti-Semitic trope that this is supported or even orchestrated by the shadowy Zionist lobby in their quest to suppress the Palestinian cause.
One famous example used to demonstrate this point has been the story of Rahmaan Mohammadi — a young Muslim who (he says) was referred to Prevent for his support for Palestine. Indeed it has been widely reported that he was referred to Prevent by his college off the basis of a pro Palestine badge he was wearing.
He has become the anti Prevent poster-boy. He was taken across the country speaking at Stop The War Coalition events, NUS ‘Students Not Suspects’ events alongside Moazzam Begg and Malia ‘Zionist outpost’ Bouattia.
His story has been covered by the Guardian, BBC, Times, Sky News, Vice, Buzzfeed, and many others. This has all put Rahmaan in good stead and is now even a contributor to Putin’s mouthpiece — Russia Today. It is clear that Rahmaan’s story shot him to stardom within the anti-prevent lobby and as a result Rahmaan even managed to bag himself a position on the NUS’s National Executive Council.
His college disputed the widely-reported reasons for Rahmaan’s Prevent referral in an article published in the local paper but no one paid any attention to that;
A look at his posts from the time indicate his referral to Prevent was entirely legitimate. These are some of the views he was posting around the time of his Prevent referral and after.
- Rahmaan’s profile picture in May 2014 was of Hezbollah fighters. Hezbollah’s military wing is a proscribed terrorist organisation in the UK, European Union and many other countries.
2. The British army are “terrorists” according to Rahmaan.
3. Rahmaan takes issue with “The Jewish Zuckerberg” and thinks British and American intelligence services should “go kill themselves”:
4. Rahmaan is happy that the Islamic State were “finally” targeting Israel:
5. It’s not just Jews he takes issue with:
6. Support for the butcher of Syria — Bashar Al Assad:
With a record like this there’s every chance Rahmaan will go on to be NUS President in a couple of years.