The Counter Terrorism and Security Bill has just passed its second reading in the House of Lords and now is in the final committee stages. This is yet another piece of terrorism/extremism legislation since the year 2000, which is going to have a major impact on Muslim communities in Britain and elsewhere, as well as wider society. This legislation will affect public servants in particular as they will be required to implement many of its proposals. We have been asked by many of our community leaders to help them understand the proposals and potential impact of this bill so they can understand how it will affect them and their work. We have produced this simply website to explain how this proposed bill will change the lives of thousands in the UK.
Behind this law the government is claiming it is responding to concerns about security in relation to ISIS and the situation in Syria. However it has also made it clear in numerous ministerial comments, that this is also about effectively outlawing non-violent Muslim political/religious ideas and by implication enforcing certain values/thoughts on the Muslim community. The proposed legalisation will effectively criminalise expression of thoughts/beliefs.
If we examine Terrorism laws since 2000 we see that there is a clear direction of State policy irrespective of the party in office. The analysis identifies the following agenda behind the current bill, in line with previous laws.
- A concern about security within the UK which everyone accepts is a real issue.
- The maintenance/reinforcement of UK foreign policy /strategic interests in the Muslim world through the use of terrorism laws and the “Prevent” theory.
- The outlawing and criminalisation of certain Muslim religious ideas and thoughts.
The second and third parts of the Government agenda are political and religious goals which are being imposed on Muslims in order to force compliance with a state political ideology. In this sense the British State is beginning to act no differently to Communist regimes, by the outlawing of dissenting political and religious views which challenge the official State ideology. Under communist regimes, public servants became politicised to enforce state ideology and act as thought police and identify and refer “enemies of state”. Making the Prevent theory a statutory duty will take us further down this road.