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‘moderation’ which Muslims should aspire to. The use of government funding to promote a ‘correct interpretation’ of religious texts is fraught with dangers, irrespective of the theological merits of any such interpretation. As Asma Jahangir, the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, pointed out in her 2008 report on the UK, ‘it is not the Government’s role to look for the “true voices of Islam” or of any other religion or belief. … The contents of a religion or belief should be defined by the worshippers themselves.’ 13. The government has failed to adequately consider analyses of radicalisation which downplay the role of religion. For example, the leading French scholar of Islamism, Olivier Roy, has argued that violent radicalisation has little to do with religious practice, while radical theology does not of itself lead to violence. It is more productive, he says, to understand al Qaida in Europe as a modern youth movement that radicalises through a narrative of heroic violence and anti-imperialist politics rather than a religious ideology. On this view, it is irrelevant to counter radicalisation by providing an ideological or theological alternative. To promote a ‘moderate’ Islam against al Qaida’s ‘bad Islam’ would be counter-productive as it elevates al Qaida’s narrative to a religious phenomenon. 14. The Prevent agenda is tightly integrated with a policing agenda and so the allocation of the DCLG area-based grants to every area with more than 2,000 Muslims amounts to a form of religious profiling that is inconsistent with commitments to racial and religious equality. In focusing on all areas with more than 2,000 Muslims, because it wants to mobilise all these persons against ‘extremism’, the government is constructing the Muslim population as a ‘suspect community’. The failure of Muslim individuals or organisations to comply with this mobilisation makes them suspicious in the eyes of the counter-terrorist system. In fact, Muslims may want to avoid participating in the government’s Prevent programme for a number of reasons which have nothing to do with support for extremism – for example, concerns about surveillance, transparency, accountability or local democracy. 15. The atmosphere promoted by Prevent is one in which to make radical criticisms of the government is to risk losing funding and facing isolation as an ‘extremist’, while those organisations which echo back the government’s own political line are rewarded with large sums of public money. A number of our interviewees argued that the problem with this state of affairs is that it undermines exactly the kind of radical discussions of political issues that would need to occur if young people are to be won over and support for illegitimate political violence diminished. The current emphasis of Prevent on depoliticising young people and restricting radical dissent is actually counter-productive because it strengthens the hands of the extremists who say democracy is pointless. What needs to happen is that young people feel that there are democratic spaces where radical criticisms can be productively made.