Muslim Association of Britain
26th November 2014

New Powers but old dangers

The Muslim Association of Britain welcomes the new heightened vigilance of the government to deal with acts or the threat of terror across the UK and the spread of terror around the world. The measures are in the main positive include banning UK-based insurance companies from covering the cost of terrorist ransoms, permitting cancelations of passports (for up to 30 days) of terror suspects at the border and firming up aviation security and asking airlines to provide data on passengers rapidly and efficiently.

We also welcome Mrs May’s recognition that the killing, harassing and burning of Muslim buildings such as community centres or mosques also constitute a form of terrorism. She was right to mention the killing of 82-year Mohammed Saleem who was fatally stabbed in October 2013 in the early hours of the morning whilst returning from his prayers. MAB believes that there should be transparency about all forms of terrorism and acts of violence against British citizens or that threats the lives of British citizens should be universally condemned and perpetrators should be brought to justice.

It is also to be welcome that Mrs May has tacitly accepted that the Prevent Strategy has now worked. The decision to include non-violent extremism is however a ‘grey’ area. Having strong views that call for the peaceful removal or non-violence overthrow of this country’s government is not a territory exclusive to hard-line extremists. T.V. and Film Star, Russell Brand calls for a Revolution. Is he likely to be the focus of the Prevent strategic programme?

Likewise, the statutory duty of a named organisation such as schools and colleges, police, prisons and probation services and local government to help identify terrorist is a vague and imprecise science. MAB wishes to point out that the security services that were aware of the killers of Rigby, were nevertheless not able to prevent the heinous killing of the British soldier from taking place. It stands to reason that most institutions would have similar or greater levels of difficulty in identifying a bone-fide terrorist.

Finally, allowing the so-called terrorists back on the government’s terms is well and good if those terms are reasonable and does not curtail basic freedoms. It can be argued that the returning citizen is not one that poses a threat but one who has become disenchanted and needs help to readjust to the British society. Counselling rather that TPIM tags might do more to rebuild a sense of belonging. However, preventing citizens from returning home, in our view, an erosion of civil and human rights.

The danger inherent in the Home Secretary’s is that innocent people may get caught up in the drive to prevent violent terrorist acts. She talked about ‘…radicalization taking place behind closed doors in mosques, home and community centres, but also in schools, universities and prisons.” Broadening the impending scope of radicalization sends a worrying signal. It is that ordinary pious conservative Muslims who frequent all the places that the Home Secretary has outlined are by association guilty and ‘up to something.’



Muslim Association of Britain
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Notes to Editors:
MAB is a British organisation dedicated to serving society through promoting Islam in its spiritual teachings, ideological and civilising concepts, and moral and human values. MAB has local branches across the UK that provide a wide range of events and activities.MAB is a founding member of the Mosques and Imams National Advisory Body (MINAB).
MAB actively seeks to dispel the misconceptions about Muslims and helps to act as a bridge to promote better understanding between the UK and the Muslim World.