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Counter terrorism and Security Bill and criminalising dissent

Counter terrorism and Security Bill and criminalising dissent

Categories: Latest News

Friday February 06 2015

The Guardian today publishes a letter by a number of human rights and Muslim organisations on the proposed draconian measures in the Government’s Counter-terrorism and Security Bill and its likely negative impact on Muslim communities.

The paper earlier this week published a letter signed by several hundred professors protesting at the Bill’s encroachment on freedom of speech on university campuses in the (unproven) belief that universities are sites where radicalisation occurs.

In the letter in today’s Guardian, Muslims, human rights and student rights campaigners warn of the detrimental impact of the law on political dissent and Muslim civil liberties arguing that “Anti-terror powers are about protecting UK foreign policy from dissent, rather than protecting the public from violence.”

The Government’s intention to impose a statutory duty on schools, universities and a number of other bodies were first aired in the report by the Prime Minister’s Extremism Taskforce in December 2013.

In September last year the Prime Minister, in a statement to the House of Commons, outlined some of the measures the Government was considering. And in a speech to the Australian parliament last November, the PM reiterated the Government’s view that the root cause of radicalisation was ‘not poverty’, ‘not exclusion from the mainstream’, and ‘not foreign policy’ but ‘the extremist narrative’.

The Government in imposing the statutory duty is looking to challenge the “extremist narrative” with its Guidance on the statutory duty claiming that non-violent extremism “can create an atmosphere conducive to terrorism and popularise view which terrorists exploit”.

It is instructive that the Government is driven by a regard for “non-violent extremism”, when no evidence of its contributing to violent extremism exists save in the minds of those who push this line of thinking, while it refutes the evidence showing foreign policy has and does have an impact on radicalisation and terrorism.

With the Counter-terrorism and Security Bill on its way to Third Reading in the Lords on Monday and back to the Commons to Tuesday, now is the time to let your MP know that you object to the Bill’s provisions on criminalising dissent.


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