Date of Award

Spring 5-2013

Degree Type

Honors College Thesis


Political Science, International Development, and International Affairs

First Advisor

Robert Pauly

Advisor Department

Political Science, International Development, and International Affairs


The United Kingdom’s Prevent Strategy is a unique government response to the threat of domestic terrorism. The program mixes social interaction and police work to dissuade suspected political extremists from participating in or supporting terrorist activities. This approach to preventing terrorist threats has had its share of criticism, though. British activists decried the Prevent Strategy for promoting discrimination against Muslims in Britain, misuse of public funding for programs, and a fear of government intrusion into private lives. In addition to a divisive history between Muslims and British natives, the Prevent Strategy’s emphasis on threats posed by Al-Qaeda and other Islamist groups contributed to social marginalization against Muslims more than any other minority group in Britain. British Parliament reformed the program recently to address its criticisms, but the reform retained its scope and the United Kingdom has not done enough to respond to Muslims’ claims of increased strained relations with the government caused by this policy. This thesis will deconstruct the operations of the Prevent Strategy, review Muslim and British relations, analyze the Prevent Strategy and its 2011 reform, explain the flaws of the original policy, and argue why the reformed law continues to divide Muslims within the British population. It will also describe the social and political characteristics of British Muslims and provide case studies that demonstrate a bias against Muslims in the United Kingdom’s domestic counter-terrorism program.