22 July 2016
The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) welcomes the report by the Joint Committee on Human Rights on the Government’s counter-extremism strategy. It highlights how “the Government has not demonstrated the need for new legislation” and that “there is a danger that any new legislation may prove counter-productive”.
Furthermore, the Committee raises important concerns on the Government’s approach to extremism, that mirror issues raised by the MCB on previous occasions namely the unproven escalator theory that underpins the counter-extremism strategy, the lack of a clear definition of extremism and the risk of a discriminatory application of any new legislation.
The report comes two months after a diverse and unique coalition of civil society groups and leading figures came together to highlight serious concerns about the government’s proposed Counter-Extremism and Safeguarding Bill in the Queen’s Speech.
Harun Khan, Secretary General of the MCB, said: “We strongly endorse the key recommendations of this report and hope that this Government will follow its recent commitment to the European Court of Human Rights by re-thinking its approach on counter-extremism. Tackling terrorism is a priority for our nation but we do not believe the Government should institute legislation that risks being counter-productive and impacting on the democratic and human rights which terrorists so often aim to extinguish”.
As the JCHR notes: “The legal problems that we have considered are so fundamental that it will serve no purpose to have a further general consultation.” However, should any consultation be forthcoming, the MCB supports the JCHR’s recommendation for a longer consultation period on this sensitive issue so that a diverse group of communities can participate and consider the implications of any draft proposal.
Notes to Editors:
1. The Muslim Council of Britain is the UK’s largest Muslim umbrella body with over 500 affiliated national, regional and local organisations, mosques, charities and schools.
2. See http://mcb.org.uk/ce-bill-joint-statement-21may2016/ for the statement from the coalition of civil society groups and leading figures on the Counter-Extremism and Safeguarding Bill.
3. On hate crime, see the MCB’s previous statement on the issue: http://mcb.org.uk/concern-raised-over-post-referendum-division-and-hate-crimes/
4. Some of the MCB’s work on the issue of terrorism can be found: http://mcb.org.uk/againstterror/ and some of the concerns of the Prevent duty in schools: http://mcb.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/20150803-Case-studies-about-Prevent.pdf.
5. For further information please contact:
The Muslim Council of Britain
PO Box 57330
Tel: 0845 26 26 786
Fax: 0207 247 7079