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Give authorities power to close 'extremist' mosques - UK minister

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British Home Secretary Theresa May drew a distinction between the principles of Islam, which were “entirely compatible” with British values, and those of Islamist radicals, using the long-awaited speech to declare Britain will no longer tolerate the behaviour of Islamist extremists who “reject our values” (REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett)

British Home Secretary Theresa May drew a distinction between the principles of Islam, which were “entirely compatible” with British values, and those of Islamist radicals, using the long-awaited speech to declare Britain will no longer tolerate the behaviour of Islamist extremists who “reject our values” (REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett)

REUTERS

British Home Secretary Theresa May drew a distinction between the principles of Islam, which were “entirely compatible” with British values, and those of Islamist radicals, using the long-awaited speech to declare Britain will no longer tolerate the behaviour of Islamist extremists who “reject our values” (REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett)

British authorities will be given powers to close down mosques where extremists gather under a future Conservative government, Theresa May has announced.

The British Home Secretary also pledged to review how Shari'a law is used in England and create new "extremism officer" roles in prisons to stop radicalism spreading among criminals. Ms May also proposed a raft of measures to promote British values "more assertively" by changing visas to ensure visitors follow them and review citizenship laws to ensure effectiveness.

The announcements came as Ms May revealed the government's new counter-extremism strategy and said that only a Conservative majority could guarantee the package of proposals would be implemented.

The package of policies marks the most comprehensive plan for tackling extremism in Britain since the Coalition took office and comes after around six months of analysis at the Home Office. There will be pressure on the Liberal Democrats and Labour to reveal which measures they would back if they held office after the May 7 UK election.

There is growing concern about the number of Britons travelling to Syria to join Isil, also known as Islamic State, and returning to launch attacks inside the UK.

Speaking in London, Ms May drew a distinction between the principles of Islam, which were "entirely compatible" with British values, and those of Islamist radicals. She used the long-awaited speech to declare Britain will no longer tolerate the behaviour of Islamist extremists who "reject our values" and outlined a series of measures to tackle the problem.

Authorities should be allowed to issue banning orders on extremist groups to stop them spreading "messages of hate" even if they fall short of being defined as terrorists, Ms May said.

"We will introduce extremism disruption orders, which are civil powers to be used against individual extremists who incite hatred. And we will introduce closure orders, for premises that are owned or occupied by extremists or are used to host extremist meetings or speakers," she added.

Ms May also called for a host of reviews into both the way extremism is policed and promoted. The UK's HM Inspectorate of Constabulary should review how police forces have responded to "honour crimes", female genital mutilation and forced marriage," Ms May said.

An independent investigation into the use of Shari'a law in England and Wales should also be carried out, she said. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk