Representatives of over 20 Muslim organisations and Mosques in Reading attended a “Community Forum” in Reading Town Hall on Wednesday the 2nd of December regarding the local “Preventing Violent Extremism” (PVE) policy to make sure all communities in attendance know that this work is not being done in the name of, or with the support of the Muslim community.
One of the founding members of the Crisis Group initially alerted community members about this meeting and the need to set the record straight for the benefit of the other faith communities and voluntary sector representative who would be in attendance. This alert was well received and supported by key community organisations and the whole community was subsequently mobilised!
Unable to defend their own position and handling of PVE, the Local Authority in Reading shuttled in a Muslim from the Regional Government Office to give a talk and take questions. During the Q&A session the Regional Government Officer received a blasting from the Muslim organisations and some members of other faith groups. Every single question during the Q&A session, bar one, was critical of PVE and the session was ended despite many questions still outstanding from people who had not had a chance to raise their views despite this event being entailed a “Community Forum“.
The representatives of the 20 Muslim organisations and Mosques all left the meeting after this session and did not take part in the workshops in session two. This was in order in to show solidarity with the people who were able to raise points and to show that they are not interested in discussing the finer details of how to implement the divisive PVE agenda. Interestingly the Head of Reading Police, the Regional Government Officer, Councillors, PVE Police Officers and others involved with implementing PVE abandoned participating in the rest of their own event and joined the Muslim community outside where the debate continued for another hour!
Two of the key questions that were ignored during the Q&A session included:
A challenge from a Muslim professional in the audience that if the Local Authority are not ‘spying’ on the Muslim community through PVE then why don’t they release into the public domain the “mapping” of the Muslim community and the “Rich Picture” profiles of local “Muslim extremists” that are being “developed through PVE/Contest”?
One elder from the community asked what “Community Mapping” and “radicalisation” monitoring are the other Reading communities receiving given that it has been alleged that some have “links” with those serving in the Israeli army/ IDF during the Gaza massacre.
In addition to the 20 Muslim organisations, attendees of the event included members of the local Council, local Police, Race Equality Representatives, Voluntary sector members, other faith community groups, and other groups representing groups defined by ethnicity.
Unlike previous Community Forum meetings and despite the fact that this event was promoted in the local media [http://www.getreading.co.uk/news/s/2061894_prevent_violent_extremism_forum_tonight]. in the days leading up to the event there was no press release issued to the local media by the Local Authority with post event coverage. However one of the attendees recorded some of the calmer aspects of the proceedings. A video of some of the answers to the questions at this event has been circulated and can be viewed below:
Interesting the Regional Government Officer admits at the end of this video that despite being the lead from the Government Office of the South East even he is not privy to the “community mapping” of the Muslim community which the police are undertaking under PVE/CONTEST.
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