Theresa May has announced a package of measures to crack down on radical Islam, including a register of school governors and a review of Sharia Law. The Home Secretary warned those who did not want to join her partnership against extremists would have their “hateful beliefs” exposed.
She told an audience of anti-extremism campaigners at The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors that “the game is up” for extremists. May said: “We will no longer tolerate your behaviour. We will expose your hateful beliefs for what they are.”
She continued: “Increasing evidence that a small but significant number of people living in Britain – almost all of whom are British citizens – reject our values”.
“We have been clear all along that the government’s counter-extremism strategy must seek to defeat extremism in all its forms, but it’s obvious from the evidence that the most serious and widespread form of extremism we need to confront is Islamist extremism.”
The timing of her announcement was significant because Parliament is about to be dissolved so the package will only be implemented if the Conservatives win the election.
This may have been because the Liberal Democrats oppose much of the anti-terror legislation, and so it may have been impossible for the coalition to push it through. Despite this weakness she did lay out a very comprehensive plan.
One of the most significant changes is “banning orders” that will be used on groups that do not reach the current threshold to be put on the list of proscribed terrorist groups. The application of the orders will take into account “overseas links”. This could affect the Muslim Brotherhood, as they are not considered terrorists in the UK but they do have affiliated groups that engage in terrorism abroad.
There will also be “extremism disruption orders” to be used against individuals and “closure orders” to shut down premises being used by terrorists or their sympathisers. This will be backed up by more protections for children attending supplementary schools, and a requirement for foreign religious leaders to learn English in order to get a visa.
She also plans to significantly cut the amount of money the government spends on translation services, and demand immigrants commit to “British values”. In recent years there have been growing concerns that large numbers of British Muslims are opposed to the values that considered integral to the UK by most people living in the country.
The specifics on the plans for Sharia Courts were not given by May, decisions will be made after the review is complete.