A four-year-old Muslim boy was referred to a British de-radicalisation program called Channel, probably becoming the youngest person to be accused of being "radical" in the country, after his pronunciation of "cucumber" was misunderstood as "cooker bomb" by daycare staff.
The staff at his daycare center were alarmed when he explained that what he drew on piece of paper was "a man cutting a cucumber."
The staff reported him to a government de-radicalisation program, part of Britain’s anti-terrorism strategy.
"My son does not say ‘cucumber’, he says ‘cu-cum-bom’," the boy’s mother told media outlets.
The daycare center in Bedfordshire said that 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.
Since last July, teachers and public workers have been obliged to report any suspicious behavior to the authorities.
Muslim groups, community leaders, teachers’ unions and the public have criticised the British government’s Prevent strategy.
Rahman Mohammedi, a 17-year-old student from Luton 6th Form College, was referred to anti-terror police under the Prevent strategy for wearing a "Free Palestine" badge last month.
"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 Afghan refugee family, said at a public meeting held in central London last night.
A 10-year-old Muslim boy was also questioned by British police in Lancashire, North England, after writing that he lives in a "terrorist house" when he intended to write "terraced house" on December 7. Upon seeing what he wrote his teachers reported him to local authorities.
According to the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), nearly 2,000 children under 15 have been referred to similar panels between January 2012 and December 2015.