SHAFAQNA (International Shia News Association)-British Home Minister Theresa May has pledged new measures to tackle terrorism at home and abroad, adding that officials should have all the legal powers they need to tackle the problem.
“Dealing with terrorism and extremism will require continued commitment and international collaboration,” she said in an article published by The Daily Telegraph.
“Since I was made home secretary, I have constantly made the case for legislation to ensure the police and security services have access to the communications data they need, for example.
“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 radicalize others,” she added.
In her article, May said that UK’s struggle against extremism may continue for decades, as she defended the government’s counter-terrorism strategy.
Ministers have been urged to step up their response to extremism at home following the murder of US journalist James Foley by the so-called Islamic State (IS) militants operating in Iraq and Syria.
UK police and security services are trying to identify a jihadist with an English accent who appeared in footage of Foley’s killing.
The British Minister has also defended the government’s counter-terrorism strategy, revealing that since 2010, more than 150 foreign individuals had been excluded from entering the UK, including “hate preachers”.
She added the UK had improved its ability to address the problem of extremism online, with 28,000 pieces of terrorist material removed from the internet so far in 2014.
May added that “people who insist on travelling to fight in Syria and Iraq will be investigated by the police and security services”.
The measures were included in the report from the Extremism Task Force that was set up by Prime Minister David Cameron after the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby last year.
According to these measures, Islamist “radicals” face being expelled from mosques, Muslim community groups and universities.
The courts would be given new civil powers to ban suspected extremists from preaching or indoctrinating others.
At the same time internet companies have been asked to block terrorist material from overseas being accessed in this country.
May’s suggestions were supported by shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper who urged more actions to respond to the “serious problem” of people travelling to fight for IS.
“I remain concerned that the government is not addressing the gaps in the Prevent program – especially the lack of support for community-led approaches to preventing radicalization.
“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.”
Rob Wainwright, director of the EU’s law enforcement agency Europol, said the UK was taking the right approach to dealing with extremism.
“As always you have to balance the security interests of countries with that of individual liberties; maintaining liberty and privacy is something that we all cherish in Europe of course,” he told BBC Radio 4’s The World Tonight.
“Getting that balance right is very important and is a feature I think of the EU’s response so far.
“In terms of the effectiveness of control orders and other things, we see that the United Kingdom has been ahead of the curve, has been rather progressive in the way in which it’s using systems to try and manage these problems.”
Yet, former security minister Lady Neville Jones said no new measures were needed as current legislation deals effectively with extremism.
“I think we have a lot of law and it needs to be enforced and there are ways in which the present version of control orders, known as TPims, can be used if you need to, as part of the armory of preventing people from going to Iraq,” she said.
“And there are also various other immigration measures that we have in place and they need to be used because it is very important I think to stop this traffic.”
TPims are used to restrict movement, the use of computers and mobile phones and meetings with others. They replaced the previous system of control orders – which were more restrictive – in 2011.
Muslim Council of Britain general secretary Dr Shuja Shafi said anyone who is “knowledgeable about any wrongdoing must report it to the police, or organizations like Crime stoppers”.
The Muslim leader urged parents, communities, imams, religious leaders and governments to address what was going wrong.
“We have got to see what it is that has lured these individuals and young people into criminal activity like this,” Dr Shafi said.
“We have to understand why this “jihadi cool” culture seems to lure them, and make sure this does not persuade them, and ensure they are engaged with society and understand this is wrong,” he added.
Different UK imams and the Muslim Council of Britain have condemned the barbarity of ISIL in a statement last Wednesday.
“Each day ISIS seeks to carry out an act more barbarous than the day before, craving the oxygen of publicity to give credibility to their heinous acts,” MCB said in a statement cited by Gloucester Citizen.
“We condemn unreservedly their psychopathic violence, whether it is on minorities, on civilians, or on fellow Muslims.”