British ‘Channel Program’ Has 200 Muslim Children on Watch List

March 28, 2009

(ChattahBox) — The British government and its police forces under something called the Channel Program have identified 200 children, some as young as 13, and placed them on what amounts to a watch-list of those who might harbor terrorist tendencies. The 18 months old program which is being run by the Association of Chief Police Officers ask parents, teachers and other community figures to watch for signs of children who may have an attraction to extremist beliefs or those who might have been targeted by radicals. The children were reported to the anti-terror squad by their teachers on the basis of school work, journals and conversations that, in the teachers’ view, indicated that the children were susceptible to extremist beliefs.
The Channel project funded by the British Home Office, was originally piloted in a small number of communities but will be expanded throughout Metropolitan London but seems to target Muslim communities to identify impressionable children who have shown an interest in extremist material. Once identified the children are subject to a “program of intervention tailored to the needs of the individual”.

Sir Norman Bettison, the chief constable of West Yorkshire Police tells the UK Independent, the system was not being used to target the Muslim community.

“The whole ethos is to build a relationship, on the basis of trust and confidence, with those communities,” said Sir Norman.

“With the help of these communities we can identify the kids who are vulnerable to the message and influenced by the message. The challenge is to intervene and offer guidance, not necessarily to prosecute them, but to address their grievance, their growing sense of hate and potential to do something violent in the name of some misinterpretation of a faith.

“We are targeting criminals and would-be terrorists who happen to be cloaking themselves in Islamic rhetoric. That is not the same as targeting the Muslim community.”


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