Policy Area 1: Counter-Terrorism and Civil Liberties
The Government has continued to implement legislation that disproportionately affects Muslim communities and contributes towards their stigmatisation and marginalisation. Among the most controversial legislation, the statutory PREVENT duty enshrined in the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 has a particularly negative effect on British Muslims, while the ‘Snoopers’ Charter’ attributes to the security services and other public bodies extensive powers to mine citizens’ electronic records.
Furthermore, regarding airport detentions under Schedule 7, the former Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, David Anderson QC, has noted that Schedule 7 detentions and examinations were imposed upon members of ethnic minority groups to a greater extent than “their presence in the travelling population would seem to warrant” suggesting evidence of disproportionate, but not racially discriminatory, use.
While countering violent extremism is a policy priority, it should not be pursued at the expense of civil liberties that define our society and culture, or in a manner that provokes a landscape in which Muslims are simultaneously blamed for the violent actions of others and demonised as contributing to the problem.
- Commit to fostering social cohesion and community resilience to all forms of extremism, and support de-radicalisation programmes that work with Muslim communities – not against them.
- Commit to repealing the statutory PREVENT duty, and engaging with Muslim communities to form an effective, evidence-based and non-discriminatory counter-terrorism strategy.
- Commit to curbing the encroachment of counter-terrorism policies on civil liberties by reviewing all counter-terrorism legislation enacted since 2000.
- Commit to increasing transparency over the referrals made under the Channel programme.