ANGRY Muslim groups have branded a
project to identify school kids who are
vulnerable to radicalisation as “nonsense”.
The groups say it smacks of spy tactics and
makes potential criminals of youths who might
want to explore other ways of thinking.
They claim many organisations are reluctant
to give information as part of the Channel
Project, because they are scared of what police
will do with the intelligence.
Channel Project, run by the Association of
Chief Police Officers (ACPO), asks teachers,
parents and community groups to report chil-
dren at risk of extremism.
Since the project began in 2007, over 200
children have been identified as potential ter-
rorists – some as young as 13.
The groups want police and teachers to step
back from Channel Project and let them help
youths with radical views.
ACPO gave a presentation on Channel Project
at a Muslim Safety Forum meeting in London
earlier this month.
Abdurahman Jafar, chair of the Forum, told
Eastern Eye: “It is like spying and criminalising
ideas. It makes people frightened and reluctant
to talk to the authorities.
“We would like to know who is making these
ill-informed decisions to view any expression
about Iraq or Afghanistan as expressions of ter-
rorism – which is nonsense.
“The vast majority agree with those senti-
ments but are being criminalised. Kids as young
as eight years old can be referred.
“It happens behind closed doors, there is no
right of appeal, there is no semblance of legality
or checking the accuracy of the accusations.”
The Channel Project was piloted in Lanca-
shire and Lambeth, south London, in 2007. The
Home Office, which funds the project, is rolling
it out nationally. But community groups in ar-
eas including Redbridge, in east London, have
raised concerns over its use.
In one email from a community group to
Redbridge Council, the spokesman wrote: “I
still have lots of serious concerns about Chan-
nel, and didn’t realise it had already been start-
ed for Redbridge.
“The feeling I got from the last meet