UK counterterrorism report slammed for conclusions based on ‘half-dozen cases’

A controversial review into the UK’s counterterrorism strategy has been slammed due to its author only witnessing half a dozen meetings of its deradicalization program, The Observer reported on Sunday.

William Shawcross, who was appointed to review the British government’s Prevent program in January 2021, has been accused after his report said too much focus was given to far-right extremism and not enough on Islamist extremism.

Between April 2021 and March 2022, almost 1,500 assessments for Channel — the Prevent support program tasked with assessing more extreme individuals — took place.

But critics say Shawcross’s attendance of just six of these case referrals raises concerns over how thorough the research was that led to his findings.

Layla Aitlhadj, director and case study lead at Prevent Watch, said her organization had examined hundreds of referrals for its report last year into the counterterrorism program.

“We analyzed 600 cases ... Shawcross based his entire report on just six Channel cases,” she added. “Light on research, poor on analysis and heavy on anti-Muslim bias, the Shawcross review failed in every regard.”

The UK’s former top counterterrorism officer, Neil Basu, said the Conservative government-backed report is “insulting” to those who serve to tackle extremism in Britain.

Amnesty International slammed the report as “riddled with biased thinking, errors and plain anti-Muslim prejudice.”