A U.K. counterterrorism program aimed at combating extremism has reportedly flagged some of the nation’s most prized literature, including Shakespeare, “The Lord of the Rings” by J.R.R. Tolkien and “The Canterbury Tales,” as works that could lead to right-wing extremism.
British tabloids found this month that a report by the Research Information and Communications Unit (RICU) of the U.K.’s Prevent program flagged these works of fiction, along with a litany of other written works, family sitcoms and movies like “Yes Minister,” “The Bridge on the River Kwai” and “The Great Escape,” as “key texts” for “white nationalists/supremacists.”
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The Prevent system is a “national safeguarding program that supports people who are at risk of becoming involved with terrorism through radicalization,” according to the Home Office’s website.
Fox News Digital could not verify the extent of the list of books, movies and shows flagged under the government program and the Home Office could not verify the existence of the list, noting they do not “comment on leaks.”
The program has reportedly been embroiled in controversy since it was created two decades ago, with some critics arguing it discriminated against Muslims.
The program aimed at preventing terrorism has faced renewed criticism of late, though this time with Brits questioning its effectiveness as complaints over right-wing extremism are on the rise.
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The program saw an independent review – made public earlier this month and described by some publications as “scathing” – that recommended nearly three dozen improvements.
The audit ultimately argued the program is “not doing enough to counter nonviolent Islamist extremism” and “has a double standard when dealing with the extreme right wing and Islamism”.
The review itself received push back from human rights groups that rejected the findings as “prejudice” with “no legitimacy,” according to the Guardian.
But the U.K. government accepted the results and, in a comment to Fox News Digital, a spokesperson for the Home Office said, “The Home Secretary made clear that Prevent will now ensure it focuses on the key threat of Islamist terrorism, as well as remaining vigilant on emerging threats.”
“We’ve accepted all 34 recommendations and are committed to protecting our country from the threat posed by terrorism,” the spokesman added.