UK Prevent: Radicalization Could Occur From Reading C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, Huxley or Conrad. I Kid You Not

An article in The Spectator by Douglas Murray is a critique of the UK government’s Prevent program, which was set up to counter radicalization and extremism.

Murray argues that the program has expanded its scope beyond Islamist extremism to include right-wing extremism, which is defined very broadly and arbitrarily by left-wing activist groups.

Murray cites a report by Prevent’s own research unit, which claimed that people who follow pro-Brexit and centre-right commentators on social media are at risk of being radicalized. He mocks this claim and suggests that it is an attempt to stigmatize and silence opinions that are shared by many British people. (And beyond)

He mentions Lewis, Tolkien and Orwell as examples of authors whose works could be seen as potential sources of radicalization by Prevent. Because according to Prevent’s logic, radicalization could occur from reading C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, Huxley or Conrad. Murray adds that he is not kidding and that this is based on a document by Prevent’s education team that was leaked in 2019. The document listed these authors as examples of ‘challenging texts’ that could be used to ‘stimulate discussion’ with students who might be at risk of extremism.

This is absurd and shows how Prevent has lost its focus and credibility.