A government anti-terrorism unit in the U.K. has reportedly flagged key English literature as potential triggers for right-wing extremism – leading one author whose work is on the list to bash the agency’s strategy.
Classic authors such as C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, George Orwell, Joseph Conrad and Aldous Huxley were included on the list of potentially problematic texts compiled by Prevent’s Research Information and Communications Unit, according to The Spectator.
Other authors whose work is allegedly shared by people sympathetic with “the far-right and Brexit” also reportedly include Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Edmund Burke, Thomas Carlyle, Adam Smith and William Shakespeare.
In 2011, the U.K. introduced the “Prevent duty” as a component of its broader counter-terrorism approach, which is known as “Contest.” Its primary objective is to employ preventative measures to decrease the risk of terrorist threats, which encompasses the prevention of individuals from being enticed into terrorist activities, according to its guidance.
Ulster Unionist Party councillor John Kyle blasted the list, according to Northern Irish outlet News Letter. “I know that communist and totalitarian regimes have viewed Christianity as dangerously subversive, but when the British Government labels C.S. Lewis’s Narnia books a terrorist threat its counter-terrorism unit has lost touch with reality,” he said.
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Author Douglas Murray, who first reported on the list, echoed Kyle, noting that his own 2017 book “The Strange Death of Europe” was also flagged. He told Fox News Digital that the list “is a sign that the people advising the government have completely lost their way.”
“This is quite typical that you set something up in government to deal with one issue, and it ends up spreading its remit until its remit is so broad that it includes the mainstream texts of the culture,” said Murray, who noted Prevent was first established to combat Islamic extremism but has since shifted its focus.
“It’s exceptionally self-immolating, all because they can’t deal with the one thing they were set up to address at the beginning,” he said.
The list surfaced following an assessment of the Prevent strategy by Commissioner for Public Appointments William Shawcross, who determined earlier this year that the anti-extremism program focused too much on the far-right and not enough on Islamic extremism, according to The Guardian.
“It’s exceptionally self-immolating…”
Shawcross’ report was met with pushback, though Prevent’s own statistics indicate that for the second consecutive year, from April 2021 to March 2022, referrals for extreme right-wing radicalization (20%) exceeded those for radical Islamist referrals (16%).
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Multiple Christians have been reported to the anti-terrorism watchdog in recent months for publicly opposing homosexuality. The Rev. Bernard Randall, a Church of England minister and former school chaplain, told Fox News Digital last fall that he was reported to Prevent and blacklisted by his own diocese for telling students they were free to make up their own minds about the claims of LGBTQ activists.
“The Shawcress Report shows that what actually happened was you had an unequal attitude toward what extremism was depending on the ideology,” Murray said. “So Islamic extremism was ‘kill the non-believers,’ and so-called ‘right-wing’ or ‘nativist’ extremism was reading books that are classics of British culture.”
“That says an awful lot about the sorts of low-grade figures who have been involved in the Prevent strategy in recent years,” he added.
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Murray said that while he doesn’t believe the majority of British people hate their own culture, a small segment in political leadership derives “bullying power” by undermining it. He said the same attitude has also infected elites in the U.S. and throughout the Western world.
“That’s effectively what’s happened: very dogmatic people have put majority populations into the ‘deplorables basket,’ and they put our history into the deplorable basket, along with our culture, our writers and much else,” he said.
“If you don’t go along with it, you’re a deplorable right-winger; and as somebody who’s dogmatic and bullying, you can get an awfully long way,” he added.
A spokesperson for the U.K.’s Home Office did not respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment by time of publication.
Source: Fox News