An eight-year-old boy has been questioned by Prevent officers after his teachers mistook his T-shirt slogan for ISIS propaganda, a report has claimed.
The unnamed boy wore a T-shirt with the words with the words “I want to be like Abu Bakr al-Siddique” – a key early Muslim leader in the first years after the death of Prophet Mohamed who is regarded as one of the founding fathers of Sunni Islam.
But teachers at his East London primary school mistook the slogan for praise of the self-styled Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi- the leader of Isis in Syria and Iraq.
The boy’s mother said she had been contacted by a social services representative in February 2016 who said they wished to discuss the incident with the boy and she recalled the word “deradicalisation” being used.
At the interview, his parents said they were kept out of the room as the boy was asked questions about Isis – which he did not know anything about.
The child later said he had also been asked about his religious beliefs such as whether he believed Christians go to hell when they die and what he liked to watch on TV.
The mother said she had been told by social services that they had recorded a “form of caution” against him but she did not know whether this was a formal caution and how it would affect him in the future.
The pupil was referred to social services under the government’s anti-terror ‘Prevent’ strategy, where teachers report suspicious activity suggesting radicalisation.
It is reported the youngster is so traumatised by his encounter with social services that he is reluctant to go back to school. The mother of the eight-year-old said social services had marked down the incident as a ‘caution’ against her son – despite there being no evidence he had been radicalised.
Yasmine Ahmed, director of Rights Watch UK, said: “It is time for the government to acknowledge that the Prevent strategy is infringing the human rights of children across the UK.” She further added, “It is completely unacceptable that the government is collecting, retaining and potentially sharing information on children in the United Kingdom without their consent and with no apparent regulation and oversight, particularly in instances where these children are not even accused or suspected of engaging in unlawful activity.
The incident was one of several highlighted in a report by human rights charity, Rights Watch UK, as evidence of Muslim pupils being made to feel unwelcome at school due to the Prevent strategy.