Today’s Counter-Terrorism strategies aren’t working. As home-grown attacks grow ever more tragically common and far-right extremism gains support, governments are failing to take action that addresses the threat, and have transformed Prevent from a brave programme of community action into one that is increasingly top-down and polarising.
Gwen has been a critical friend of Prevent from the beginning. She has worked on crafting the higher-level strategy of Prevent and giving behind-the-scenes advice and consultancy to government officials in the UK and US. With Lokahi she undertook training for the police at the very start of the Channel programme, and thereafter trained, managed, supported, and evaluated the nationwide programme of community-based practitioners in the UK deradicalisation portfolio.
Lokahi has also maintained strong grassroots links and run community projects across the UK: tackling extremism on university campuses through Campusalam; and bringing together police and Muslim communities with Operation Nicole – the only UK run community programme to prevent a terrorist attack.
Gwen and Lokahi’s goals are to work towards creating sustainable and harmonious communities, and to encourage a community-based approach to tackling social violence. Ultimately, it is communities that defeat terrorism. We need to focus on empowering and supporting civil society actors to wipe out this scourge of violence across the political spectrum; whether helping them run creative, exciting community projects, supporting them while they intervene and challenge extremism one-on-one, or creating the space for legitimate political dissent.
Lokahi is independent of government strategy, policy and programmes. It endorses, participates, or critiques policies and programmes insofar as they meet our values and chime with our research and experiential insights.