New extremism definition unveiled by UK government


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A new definition of extremism that has been unveiled by British ministers will prevent some groups from receiving government support and from interacting with officials.

Organizations that propagate an ideology founded on "violence, hatred, or intolerance" will be subject to it, although they won't be made illegal.

A rise in extremism since the Israel-Gaza conflict, according to Communities Secretary Michael Gove, presents "a real risk" to the United Kingdom.

MPs, community organizations, and civil rights campaigners have criticized the government's recent rhetoric on radicalism.

Jonathan Hall, a government official who reviews anti-terrorism laws independently, has expressed concern that the new approach "could undermine the UK's reputation because it would not be seen as democratic".

The organizations that the government wants to designate as extremists are unknown, but it has stated that Islamists and neo-Nazis will be on the list, which it will release in the upcoming weeks.

The leader of the Muslim Council of Britain, Zara Mohammed, stated on BBC Newsnight that the definition will result in the "unfair targeting of Muslim communities".

The government has already limited its interactions with different departments and reduced its involvement with the Muslim Community of Britain.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak declared earlier this month that "forces here at home are trying to tear us apart" while he was standing outside Downing Street.

He stated: "On too many occasions recently, our streets have been hijacked by small groups who are hostile to our values and have no respect for our democratic traditions." He was speaking about pro-Palestinian demonstrations that have occurred following Hamas assaults in Israel.

As of this Thursday, the revised definition of extremism is as follows: "the propagation or advancement of an ideology based on violence, hatred, or intolerance, that strives to:

  1. negate or destroy the fundamental rights and freedoms of others; or
  2. undermine, overturn or replace the UK's system of liberal parliamentary democracy and democratic rights; or
  3. intentionally create a permissive environment for others to achieve the results in (1) or (2)."
The previous definition, introduced in 2011 under the Prevent strategy, described extremism as "vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and belief".

The government says the new one is "narrower and more precise" and will help "clearly articulate" how extremism is "evidenced" in behaviours.

It also says there will be a "high bar" to being classed as extremist and the policy will not target those with "private, peaceful beliefs".
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