Tuesday 12 December 2017

Cameron tackles extremists with new legislation

New measures: British PM David Cameron
New measures: British PM David Cameron

Andrew Woodcock

Parents will be given new rights to have their own children's passports removed to stop them running away to join Islamic State, David Cameron has said.

The move forms part of a new counter-extremism strategy which will also include measures to target "influencers" who seek to radicalise young people while stopping short of advocating violence, said the British Prime Minister.

Mr Cameron said Britain was engaged in "the struggle of our generation" against Islamist extremism.

The new strategy, to be published in detail in the autumn, would set out steps to "de-glamourise" Isil, "enforce" British values and put key non-violent extremists "out of action".

Mr Cameron said some of those worst affected by extremism were Muslim parents "living in fear that their children could be radicalised", with up to 700 Britons already believed to have gone abroad to join Isil.

The strategy will include measures to break down segregation in social housing and state schools, as well as a new review on boosting opportunity and integration for minority groups, he said.

But Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) secretary general Shuja Shafi voiced worry that the PM was setting "new litmus tests which may brand us all as extremists, even though we uphold and celebrate the rule of law, democracy and rights for all".

While the MCB agreed Isil was "abhorrent", it was vital to "define tightly and closely what extremism is rather than perpetuate a deep misunderstanding of Islam", he said.

Mr Cameron said opposition to Isil was not enough to prove a group or individual was non-extremist. They should also reject anti-semitism and sectarianism and condemn conspiracy theories which accuse the West or Jews of seeking to destroy Islam or claim Muslim beliefs are incompatible with liberal societies.

"We need to put out of action the key extremist influencers who are careful to operate just inside the law, but who clearly detest British society and everything we stand for," Mr Cameron added.

"These people aren't just extremists, they are also despicable, far-right groups too, and what links them all is their aim to groom young people and brainwash their minds."

Irish Independent

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