October 18, 2009

UK Gov. Spies on ‘Innocent Muslims’

Inayat Bunglawala
October 18, 2009

A British spying program targeting thoughts & beliefs of innocent people

The British newspaper The Guardian carried this weekend a highly disturbing front page story revealing that the British government’s ‘Prevent’ program – which is meant to be aimed at halting Muslims from being lured into the world of violent extremism – is actually being used to gather intelligence on innocent people who are not themselves suspected of involvement in terrorism.

The information being gathered by the UK authorities includes, says The Guardian according to documents it says it has seen, political and religious views, information on mental health, sexual activity and associates, and other sensitive information.

As The Guardian’s editorial observes regarding the collection of this data:

“It hardly needs saying that it would be incredibly dangerous if innocent Muslims were to come to believe that [divide and rule] tricks were now being deployed against them, whether through the recruitment of agents or overt spying operations. Yet when, as we report, the authorities are actively seeking information on sexual activities, this must surely be a risk. What use could such data have apart from blackmail? How is news of its collection to be explained, other than in terms of a desire to dominate?” (1)

Biggest Spying Program Shami Chakrabarti of Liberty, the human rights organization, responded to The Guardian’s revelations by voicing outrage that the government appeared to be engaged in:

"...the biggest domestic spying programme targeting the thoughts and beliefs of the innocent in Britain in modern times. It is information-gathering directed at the innocent and the spying is directed at people because of their religion, and not because of their behaviour." (2)


  1. Surveillance of Muslims: The lives of the other
  2. Government anti-terrorism strategy 'spies' on innocent

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