Europe

4-year-old Muslim boy declared 'radical' over cucumber

Daycare center refers the 4-year-old boy to British de-radicalization program

12.03.2016
4-year-old Muslim boy declared 'radical' over cucumber

LONDON

A four-year old Muslim boy was referred to a UK de-radicalization program called Channel, probably becoming the youngest “radical” person in the country when his word “cucumber” was misunderstood as “cooker bomb” by daycare staff.

The boy alarmed the staff at his daycare center when he explained what he drew on a piece of paper: A man cutting a cucumber.

The staff reported him to a government de-radicalization program, part of Britain’s anti-terrorism strategy.

“My son does not say ‘cucumber’, he says ‘cu-cum-bom’,” the boy’s mother told BBC’s Asian network.

The daycare center in Bedfordshire said they had not referred the case to Channel but rather to a panel of police and social services. The panel decided that there was no need to take further action.

The British government’s Prevent strategy has been under fire from Muslim groups, community leaders, teachers’ unions, and the public.

Rahman Mohammedi, 17, a student from Luton 6th Form College, last month was referred to anti-terror police under the Prevent strategy for wearing a “Free Palestine” badge.

“I had a leaflet of Friends of Al-Aqsa, and when a teacher saw it and after a quick Google search on the group, I was declared radical,” Mohammedi, son of an immigrant Afghan family, said at a public meeting held in central London last night.

Since last July, teachers and public workers have been obliged to report any suspicious behavior to the authorities.

Between January 2012 and December 2015, nearly 2,000 children under 15 have been referred to similar panels, according to the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC).

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