UK to unveil new ‘anti-radicalisation’ laws

Prime Minister Cameron to announce controversial new measures to tackle radicalisation and extremism in the UK

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

British Prime Minister David Cameron is set to reveal new laws to prevent “radicalisation” in the UK in his “Queen’s Speech” to the National Security Council (NSC) on May 27.

The new legislation will not only empower the government to shut down premises belonging to groups deemed “extremist,” but will also include laws to clampdown on immigration.   

"For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens 'as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone'," Prime Minister Cameron will say according to pre-scripted speech.

"It's often meant we have stood neutral between different values. And that's helped foster a narrative of extremism and grievance."

Home Secretary Theresa May first set out the proposals on the new law before last week’s election, but the ruling Conservative Party’s then-junior coalition partner Liberal Democrats voted against the new measures.

Former Deputy Prime Minister and Liberal Democrats leader Nick Clegg also vetoed a move to bar preachers deemed to be “extremist” from speaking in university conferences.

Speaking at a Conservative Party conference last year, May said the new legislation would enable the government to crackdown on any group ministers "reasonably believe" intend to incite hatred that threatens democracy or encourage public disorder.

In the event of a group being banned, membership to or funding of such a group will be registered as a criminal offence.

The country’s Charity Commission will also be able to "root out charities who misappropriate funds towards extremism and terrorism", while broadcast regulator Ofcom will be granted powers to discipline channels sharing “extremist” material.

"What we are proposing is a bill which will have certain measures within it, measures such as introducing banning orders for groups and disruption orders for individuals, for those who are out there actively trying to promote this hatred and intolerance which can lead to division in our society and undermines our British values,” May told BBC’s Radio 4.

"But it will be part of a bigger picture, a strategy which will also have as a key part of it actually promoting our British values, our values of democracy, rule of law, tolerance and acceptance of different faiths."

The new measures come as the UK battles a crisis of radicalisation, particularly among the youth, with the ongoing conflicts in Syria and Iraq having drawn around 600 British nationals.

The extent of the crisis hit home when Kuwaiti-born UK citizen Mohamed Emwazi was identified earlier this year as an executioner who beheaded foreign journalists and aid workers in videos released by ISIS.

Likewise, British citizens have also gone abroad to fight for other illegal groups against ISIS including the Kurdish People's Protection Unit (YPG).

In March, former British Royal Marine, Konstandinos Erik Scurfield, 25, was killed while fighting alongside the Syrian Kurdish Lions of Rojava militia against ISIS. The militia is believed to be led by American Jordan Matson and contain many foreign fighters.

In the same month, eight former soldiers from the British Army formed a group called the International Volunteer Force (IVFOR), which aims to recruit English-speaking volunteers to fight against ISIS in Syria.

The men will join up to 100 Westerners from Britain, the U.S., Australia and Europe who are already believed to be in Syria and Iraq fighting for the Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga and YPG militias against ISIS.

TRTWorld and agencies