04 February 2015
By Karin Friedmann
Even before the UKís draconian new Counter-Terrorism bill has been passed
into law, the British government has started taking Muslim children away from
their parents in order to ''prevent radicalization.'' The Prime Minister also
announced an additional £130 million which will be made available over the
next two years to strengthen counter-terrorism capabilities.
This new policy has a lot of problems, starting with an extremely vague
definition of ''extremism,'' which has already been used to target people
with strong opinions, social justice activists, people returning from
non-violent activities overseas, nd even those who went to Syria or Iraq to
join a resistance movement but then decided against it and came home. None of
these people are seriously considered to be planning attacks on British soil.
Rather, their advocation of Islamic ideology is being touted as a threat to
''We must be firm to the point of ruthlessness in opposing behaviour that
undermines our values. Paedophilia, FGM, Islamic radicalisation Ė to some
extent, at some stage, we have tiptoed round them all for fear of offending
this or that minority,'' wrote London mayor Boris Johnson in the Telegraph,
claiming that ''Radicalisation is a form of child abuse'' and that Muslim
children who risk radicalisation by their parents should be taken into foster
An essential weakness of the mayorís argument is that paedophilia and Female
Genital Mutilation are both tangible crimes, while ''Islamic radicalisation''
is a term so vague that it could include anyone merely philosophically
opposed to British participation in foreign wars.
Another serious flaw with the soon-to-be law is that non-Muslim extremists
are unlikely to be targeted under the new terrorism law, even if they clearly
present a danger to society.
British soldier Ryan McGee, a supporter of the far right English Defence
League (EDL), only got a two-year sentence after it was discovered that he
had made nail bombs filled with 187 pieces of shrapnel to maximize damage.
McGee was also found in possession of knives, axes and imitation guns. He had
watched videos of victims being beheaded and shot in the head under a Nazi
swastika flag. He had an EDL "No Surrender" flag in his room. He was
prosecuted and convicted under the Explosive Substances Act (1883). Instead
of being prosecuted as a terrorist, the government prosecutor himself argued
that McGee was just an immature teenager.
''Yet paradoxically, the police, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the
government seek to portray Muslim returnees from Syria as the greatest threat
this country has ever faced, charging them and seeking convictions for
terrorism offences not connected to Britain in any way,'' wrote Moazzam Begg,
who argued that ''the UK's terrorism legislation is not being applied evenly
and should be scrapped in favour of a more common sense approach.''
Another serious double standard, is that no arrests have been made of
''British mercenaries (non-Muslims of course) who have joined Iraqi Kurdish
Peshmerga units who fight alongside banned terrorist organisations like the
Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) and Iraqi militias who fight next to the Assad
regime alongside proscribed terrorist group Hezbollah.''
The most emotionally disturbing part of the governmentís assault on its
largest religious minority is that day care centers and schools are now being
told they have to report any evidence of ''Islamic radicalization'' to a
government social worker, whose decision making power is almost absolute.
''The nurseries should insure proper training of their staff to... challenge
extremist ideas which can be used to legitimize terrorism and are shared by
terrorist groups,'' the government document tagged ''Prevent'' stated.
There is no due process to determine the veracity or context of any such
accusation. The government simply takes the children by force. Domestic
violence organizations and other groups that should provide free legal help
to mothers in such cases, have been instructed not to provide attorneys to
mothers reported to the government as being suspiciously passionate about
Islamic causes or religious practices.
''As a parent I may have to prove many things in order to get my child back,
my question is why does a social worker and Channel officer have to prove
absolutely NOTHING in order to remove her in the first place. I canít
disprove something that hasnít ever made it to anyones sight!'' protested a
British mother, whose 7 year old was taken away after her twitter name raised
eyebrows. The government questioned her about her plan to attend an Islamic
Unity conference, her letters to Tarek Mehanna, and a passing comment she
made online more than a year ago, regarding the Lee Rigby incident. She had
just mentioned ''that soldiers arenít innocent fighting in a heavily opposed
and morally deplorable war.''
In an earlier case last December the Daily Mail reported, ''Two toddlers were
snatched by the British police from their mother who had returned from
war-torn Syria with them, via Turkey.
The UKís large Muslim population is being screened for Islamic "Jihadi" style
influences as ''the British government tries to find effective ways to deal
with the threat posed by ISIS.''
In fact, ISIS poses no direct threat to Britain. It would be wise to dig
deeper into which groups would lobby Englandís elected officials to enact
such laws, which essentially prohibit Muslim citizens from enjoying equal
rights at home and inhibit them from travelling internationally.