Pakistan's Rhetoric Stirring Anti-India Sentiment In UK Muslim Communities, Finds Report

Pakistan's Rhetoric Stirring Anti-India Sentiment In UK Muslim Communities, Finds Report

by Swarajya Staff - Thursday, February 9, 2023 11:34 AM IST
Pakistan's Rhetoric Stirring Anti-India Sentiment In UK Muslim Communities, Finds ReportLeicester violence. (Twitter/video screenshot)

A report backed by the United Kingdom government has found that rhetoric from Pakistan is stirring anti-India sentiment in the the Muslim communities in the UK.

The long-awaited report on the anti-terrorism 'Prevent' programme by former UK Charity Commission chair William Shawcross was released on Wednesday (8 February).

The government-led, multi-agency Prevent programme is a key part of the UK's counter-terrorism strategy. The programme aims to stop individuals from being drawn into extremism or radicalisation.

The report titled 'Independent Review of Prevent' made 34 recommendations, which were all accepted by the UK government.

The report concluded that the Prevent programme “is not doing enough to counter non-violent Islamist extremism” and “has a double standard when dealing with the extreme right wing and Islamism”.

In the report, Shawcross noted that "violence associated with accusations of blasphemy and apostasy" in the UK is of "particular importance requiring more attention".

"It is vital that Prevent proactively seeks to address this ideological threat, given the serious challenge it poses to our national culture of free speech – which must be fiercely protected – as well as to the safety of individuals and the public," Shawcross said in the report.

The report also linked Pakistan to the "narratives around blasphemy" in the UK.

"It is common for narratives around blasphemy in the UK to have a connection back to hard-line Pakistani clerics and/or the Khatme Nubuwwat movement, which has a well established presence in Pakistan," the report said.

In the report, Shawcross also raised concerns over "how rhetoric from Pakistan is impacting UK Muslim communities when it comes to inflaming anti-India sentiment, particularly around the subject of Kashmir".

"There is an element of crossover between those who seek to impose limits around blasphemy with those who voice incendiary rhetoric on Kashmir," the report added.

"I have seen evidence of UK extremist groups, as well as a Pakistani cleric with a UK following, calling for the use of violence in Kashmir. I have also seen evidence demonstrating that flashpoints related to Kashmir leads to a significant surge in interest from UK Islamists," Shawcross noted in the report.

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