No stereotypes here. It's a Prevent training session, for mental health staff in a London NHS trust. Gloria and 40 about other practitioners have taken an afternoon away from patient care to learn how to identify and respond to people at risk of extremism. Attendance is compulsory, and with the perpetual risk of terrorist attacks, this needs little justification. But there was a large elephant in the room.
Prevent is part of the government's anti-terrorism strategy. Under the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015, schools, universities and health services are among organisations with a duty to prevent people being led astray by jihadi or other causes. Mental health care is particularly relevant to Prevent, because it is known that many terrorists have a psychiatric history, and that vulnerable patients are targeted by Islamist groups.
Commentators on the Left and Muslim activists have attempted to discredit Prevent as institutionalised Islamophobia. However, the Government has emphasised a broader scope, with extremism defined as 'vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs'.