UK & World News

  • 23 August 2014, 18:08

'Asbos For Extremists' To Tackle UK Jihadists

Home Secretary Theresa May is planning to bring in new laws to tackle the threat of British jihadists - including "anti-social behaviour orders" for extremists.

Mrs May will announce a three-point plan to counter British Muslim extremists, warning that the security threat to the UK will continue for decades.

The measures would target the activities of radical preachers, such as Anjem Choudary, whose extreme rhetoric currently does not constitute a crime.

Full details are yet to emerge, but the new power will be designed to restrict extremists' behaviour and language.

As with an Asbo, it could result in a criminal conviction carrying a jail term if breached.

Mrs May has unveiled her crackdown in an article in the Daily Telegraph.

She discloses that she will make it illegal to join extremist groups that preach violent views, but are not directly involved in terrorism.

Currently, the threshold for banning membership of organisations, such as the Islamic State (IS), also known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIL), requires the Home Secretary to prove that the group is directly involved in terrorist acts.

The new power could target Islamist political organisations and other Muslim groups that tacitly support extremism.

In addition, state-funded organisations such as councils and schools will be given a new legal obligation to combat extremists.

Mrs May uses the Telegraph article to echo a warning about extremism made by the Prime Minister in a newspaper report last weekend.

The Home Secretary writes: "We are in the middle of a generational struggle against a deadly extremist ideology.

"We will be engaged in this struggle for many years, probably decades. We must give ourselves all the legal powers we need to prevail.

"I am looking again at the case for new banning orders for extremist groups that fall short of the legal threshold for terrorist proscription, as well as for new civil powers to target extremists who seek to radicalise others."

The measures proposed by Mrs May are similar to recommendations for legislation made by the Government's Extremism Task Force last December.

Those recommendations were surprisingly omitted from the Queen's Speech this year.

But there is no suggestion yet that the Home Secretary plans to introduce emergency legislation when MPs return to the Commons on September 1.

David Cameron said during his brief return to Downing Street from his holiday after the murder of journalist James Foley that there would be "no knee-jerk reaction".

The problem of radicalisation was highlighted in June when two Cardiff students - Reyaad Khan, 20, Nasser Muthana, also 20, - were identified in a propaganda video for IS posted on YouTube.

The two men along with Muthana's younger brother Aseel, 17, were lured to join extremists fighting in Syria and Iraq.

And a jihadi fighter in Syria told Sky News in July that he was training British teenagers as young as 16 to fight in the war.

Yvette Cooper, Labour's shadow home secretary, said: "More action is needed to respond to the serious problem of people travelling to fight with ISIL.

"The Home Secretary's confirmation that she is continuing to look at the recommendations of the Prime Minister's Taskforce, announced last December, is welcome.

"Though there remains no detail on things like civil powers to tackle extremists or extremist groups for people to consider.

"However I remain concerned that the Government is not addressing the gaps in the Prevent programme - especially the lack of support for community led approaches to preventing radicalisation.

"And the Home Secretary also needs to respond to the concerns raised by the current and previous Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation about the decision to weaken control orders, where they have advised that stronger measures should be put in place."

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