London, Mar.30 (ANI): A key government policy on countering extremism in Britain has "stigmatised and alienated" Muslims and undermined community relations, a Commons report has said.
According to The Independent, many Muslims told the cross-party committee of MPs that they believed the purpose of the Prevent programme was to "spy" on Asian communities, and that the Government was using funding to engineer a moderate form of acceptable Islam.
The Communities and Local Government Committee said ministers should investigate claims police and MI5 to gather intelligence on alleged radicals had hijacked the strategy.
Committee chairman Phyllis Starkey said: "Many witnesses believe Prevent has been used to 'spy' on Muslim communities. The misuse of terms such as 'intelligence gathering' among Prevent partners has clearly discredited the programme and fed distrust."
"Information required to manage Prevent has been confused with intelligence gathering undertaken by the police to combat crime, and surveillance used by the security services to actively pursue terrorism suspects. These allegations of spying under Prevent will retain widespread credibility within some communities until the Government commissions an independent investigation into the allegations," she added.
A spokesman for the Communities and Local Government department said it was "disappointed" the report did not reflect changes made in the last year in response to criticisms of Prevent. (ANI)