#StopTheBill trends on Twitter
Categories: Latest News
Monday February 09 2015
The Government’s Counter terrorism and Security Bill returns to the Lords today for its Third Reading ahead of its return to the Commons tomorrow for consideration of the Lords amendments.
There have been a number of amendments tabled to the Bill in the upper chamber with the Government conceding to Lords’ rebellion on the issue of freedom of speech on campus, the requirement that Guidance on Prevent be laid before the Houses before it takes effect in the form of a new statutory duty on councils, prisons, universities, schools and a host of other “specified authorities”, and on the judicial safeguards on the Home Secretary’s ability to impose temporary exclusion orders.
But nowhere has the debate in the Muslim community been more animated than on the prospect that the Government’s Prevent policy is due to move from voluntary adoption to statutory requirement.
The policy’s failures have been so many it is difficult to recount them all but suffice to say allegations of it being used to spy on Muslims; to stigmatise Muslims and view them a “suspect community” viewed through the prism of security and suspicion; to engineer a docile Islam through the championing of and financial support for purveyors of a quietest, supposedly Sufi-inspired doctrine are all among them. So ineffectual has been the policy’s outcomes that the Intelligence and Security Committee in its review of Prevent in 2010 found that the policy employed no observable metrics to assess output or success and though the resources of departments like the Research, Information and Communications Unit (RICU) had grown exponentially it was not clear how its work was being measured in terms of targets or achievements.
The prospect of the policy being expanded to cover a range of institutions has generated considerable, and justifiable, unease among British Muslims who have been tweeting their disdain.
Messages posted under the #StopTheBill hashtag reveals concerns raised with, for example, the Government’s determination to police “non-violent extremism” despite the lack of empirical evidence proving it has a bearing on the radicalisation of individuals. A selection of twitter posts are displayed below.
If there was any doubt remaining over the fallacy of the Government’s approach on bringing in the statutory duty, reflect on the contribution of Lord Scriven in the Lords debate last week when he disclosed which organisations were pushing for the duty to be brought in:
“As I say, evidence has come from a number of sources in the past couple of months about putting this on to a statutory footing—for example, from the Quilliam Foundation, the Local Government Association and a number of local authorities.”