The Evangelical Alliance (EA) has welcomed comments from former Prime Minister (PM) David Cameron stating the ‘Prevent Duty’ has been misused.
The Prevent Duty, issued by the Department of Education in 2015, aims to highlight areas of concern over radicalisation; in particular, Islamic extremism.
However, it was used earlier this year to prevent a sixth form college from having a Christian Union meeting, and has been invoked at universities to stop Christians holding prayer meetings.
During PM’s Question Time, Fiona Bruce, MP for Congleton and a member of the EA’s council, alerted David Cameron to the situation. In response, he called it ‘ridiculous’. He said, ‘The point she makes about the Prevent Duty being misused: I haven’t heard of that exact example, but it’s clearly ludicrous and people do need to exercise some common sense in making these judgement, as it’s quite clearly not what was intended.
In a statement from the EA, Simon McCrossan welcomed the acknowledgement of how government powers have been misused, and called for more common sense in government decision-making.
Mr McCrossan, EA’s head of public policy, said: ‘We all have to play our part in tackling terrorism and violent extremism, but common sense is exactly what is needed by the government.
‘Churches and Christian groups play a vital and valued role in every part of our plural society. The government needs to act to encourage this rather than put it at risk. It’s time for them to abandon proposals to register and inspect Sunday schools, and recognise their proposals do more to squash religious liberty than protect our country.
‘It’s ludicrous to think inspecting church settings is the answer to tackling terrorism, and we look forward to more common sense from David Cameron when the bill is published’.