In December 2015 SACC received information that a Scottish charity, Amina Muslim Women's Resource Centre (MWRC), has been secretly receiving funds from the Government's controversial 'Prevent' anti-terrorism programme, despite having pledged not to do so. We are are now disclosing this information for the first time.
The Scottish Government has refused to confirm or deny that it has given funds to Amina MWRC for this purpose. Amina MWRC has so far failed to clarify the nature of its funding, saying only that it is funded mainly by the Scottish Government.
The information leaked to us is that:
- The "Take Ownership" workshops run by Amina Muslim Women's Resource Centre are funded by the "Scottish Preventing Terrorism Unit". We believe that this refers to the Scottish Preventing Violent Extremism Unit (SPVEU), set up in 2008 to oversee and coordinate the delivery of the UK Government's Prevent strategy in Scotland (as far as we are aware, there is no unit called the "Scottish Preventing Terrorism Unit"). SPVEU is run jointly by Police Scotland and the Scottish Government.
- Amina MWRC were told verbally that publicity for these events should not carry the Scottish Government logo. This is contrary to the Scottish Government's usual policy, which insists that publicity for events it funds should carry the Scottish Government logo.
Amina MWRC told us in December that:
"Amina MWRC are funded mainly by the Scottish Government as well as other grant initiatives, RBS for example."
Anima MWRC's new Chief Executive, Samina Ansari, told us in January:
"I'm very recently into post, so not currently in a position to comment on this, though will look into this matter."
We have received no further information from Amina MWRC on the source of the funding for their workshops.
The Scottish Government, when asked whether the SPVEU had given funds to Amina MWRC for the Take Ownership" workshops, said:
"We do not disclose details of funding where to do so would prejudice our ability to reach those who are vulnerable."
Amina MWRC are listed as supporters of a statement launched on 30 September by the "Together Against Prevent" initiative that says:
"We recognise and condemn the damage that Prevent’s 'spot the potential terrorist' approach has made primarily in stigmatising and criminalising entire Muslim communities …"
The statement also says:
"We pledge to take no Prevent funds and support non-cooperation, wherever possible, with local Prevent programmes."
SACC believes that Amina MWRC's failure to disclose the nature of its Scottish Government funding is incompatible with its support for the Together Against Prevent statement. If Amina MWRC has indeed accepted SPVEU funds - as seems very likely - then its conduct is simply deceitful. It is unacceptable for the Scottish Government to encourage this sort of deceit, especially in connection with activities aimed at people that the Scottish Government itself describes as "vulnerable".