Taxpayer supports Islamist groups who back the Taliban

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British taxpayers’ money went towards groups that promoted Islamist extremism and Taliban supporters, according to a landmark review. The finding that government-funded groups effectively promoted extremism is expected to provoke a backlash about the country’s counter-terrorism strategy. The shocking findings emerged during a review by Sir William Shawcross, a former head of the Charity Commission, into the Government’s anti-terror scheme Prevent.

A leaked draft of the report, seen by The Telegraph, uncovered how the Government’s own de-radicalisation strategy went badly wrong.

Groups funded by Prevent were led by people who allegedly supported the Taliban, defended banned militant Islamist groups and hosted hate preachers

The report draft alleges that the Government funded groups that “had promoted extremist narrative”.

Prevent was set up in immediate response to 9/11 and was developed over a number of years.

The scheme was tasked with stopping people from becoming terrorists or terrorist sympathisers.

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A number of groups and charities were awarded taxpayers’ money to help steer young Muslims in particular away from terrorism.

However, the Shawcross report found that a number of the organisations went on to promote extreme Islamist ideas.

Sir William was appointed to review the scheme in January 2021 by then-Home Secretary Priti Patel.

His independent review was delivered to the Home Office in late April but has been repeatedly delayed amid ongoing fact and legal checks.

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The draft report claims that Prevent spends too much time on far-right terrorism at the expense of Islamic extremism.

The long-delayed review also alleges that Prevent places too much emphasis on treating people with terrorist sympathies as victims.

The review reportedly cites four examples to make its argument.

According to the leaked draft, the report will read: “These findings raise serious questions about whether Prevent is knowingly taking this approach and, if not, whether it operates robust due diligence procedures and has an acceptable level of understanding of Islamist extremism.”

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However, sources told The Telegraph that the draft report may be “watered down” before it is released amid fears it could stir Islamophobia and community tensions.

One person said: “Home Office officials are terrified of looking like they are picking on Muslims.”

A Downing Street spokesman said: “The review will be published in due course. It remains right that we take the time to prepare and deliver a considered response.”

The spokesman also defended Prevent, saying the scheme “remains a vital tool for early intervention and safeguarding”.

Prevent has previously come under pressure in the past after it was revealed the terrorist who murdered Tory MP Sir David Amess had been referred to the programme but continued to plot his attack.

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