As salaamu alaykum,
As many of you may know, the Government’s proposed Counter-terrorism and Security Bill (CTSB) is nearing the end of its passage through Parliament with a view to becoming legislation very shortly.
The Counter-terrorism and Security Bill raises many, grave concerns for British Muslims and despite determined efforts by MEND and some members of the House of Lords to table amendments to address the hugely negative, and quite probably counter-productive, impact of this Bill on Muslim communities, the Government has not moved enough on the Bill. Some of the key concerns are:
- Passports can be seized for up to 30 days.
- Temporary exclusion orders mean you could be banned from the UK for up to 2 years.
- You can also be excluded from your own trial when trying to defend your right to return to the UK
- The doomed Prevent policy to become a statutory duty on local councils, universities, schools, nurseries, healthcare sector etc
- Entire nationalities of Muslim passengers potentially banned from entering the UK
What you must do:
- Write to your MP today – click here to send an email to your MP in 3 easy steps. A template letter is given below. Please adapt from it and email to your MP.
- Please visit your MP at his/her local surgery this weekend or at least call them at their Westminster office and tell him//her you want them to reject the Bill. You can call the House of Commons switchboard and ask for your MPs office on 020 7219 3000.
- Make it clear to your MP that you cannot and will not support a candidate in the coming election who will not stand up for Muslims’ civil and political rights.
I am writing to express my huge disappointment at the Government’s approach to counter-terrorism and its proposed new powers contained in the Counter-terrorism and Security Bill.
I have been alarmed since the publication of the Prime Minister’s Extremism Taskforce report in December 2013 at the prospect, then suggested, of introducing a statutory duty on a range of public authorities to comply with the Prevent strategy or face sanction.
The Counter-terrorism and Security Bill will foster a climate of deep suspicion around British Muslims and will subject young Muslims to thought control from nursery age through to university graduation and beyond. It will leave Muslims vulnerable to passport seizure, exile from their home in Britain, internal exile under relocation orders, and compromised in their access to public services provided by local councils, healthcare authorities, hospital, university or prison chaplaincies etc.
This is a recipe doomed to failure. A previous Government expended huge amounts of public money attempting the same and what have we got to show for it: a disenfranchised, alienated and demonised Muslim minority whose civil and political rights have been steadily eroded. At the same time, the terrorism threat stands at severe and an increasing number of young people are being referred under counter-terrorism intervention measures or are going abroad to engage in bloody conflict.
If we do not pay heed to the fact that no strategy can succeed that works against Muslims, who want nothing more than to enjoy the liberties other British citizens take for granted, we will be doomed to repeating and magnifying the problems we currently face.
Counter-terrorism policy has already failed a generation of Muslims. With the Counter-terrorism and Security Bill, we will fail several more generations.
I urge you please, do not support this Bill. Muslims are the greater casualties of terrorism; in numbers killed and in retaliatory attacks. They should not be the greater casualty of poorly constructed counter-terrorism policy.
The collective security of Britons is too important an issue to be rushed through Parliament at breakneck speed with no regard for the consideration of consequences. We deserve a counter-terrorism policy that meets human rights obligations and protects British citizens, through full and proper judicial safeguards, against the draconian powers of the State.