UK unveils new extremism definition amid rise in hate crimes against Jews, Muslims

Mar14,2024



New Delhi: The British government on Thursday introduced a new definition of extremism in response to the rise in hate crimes against the Jews and Muslims Following Hamas attacked On Israel.
The new definition comes after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak warned earlier this month of a “shocking increase in extremist disruption and criminality” that threatened to turn the country into “mob rule”.
The announcement follows regular pro-Palestine demonstrations in London, where incidents of anti-Semitic slogans and banners have led to several arrests.
Under the new definition, extremism includes actions that seek to undermine fundamental rights, freedoms or the UK's democratic system.
Michael Gove, the senior minister overseeing the implementation of the definition, stressed its role in protecting democracy and preventing the platforming of those who aim to destroy it. “Today's measures will ensure that the government does not inadvertently provide a platform to those seeking to subvert democracy and deny other people's fundamental rights.”
“This is the first in a series of measures to tackle extremism and protect our democracy,” Gove said.
However, concerns have been raised by church leaders, including the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, who has warned of the potential targeting of Muslim communities. They argue that the new definition could increase existing tensions and divisions within society.
Britain already sanctions groups involved in terrorism, making supporting or becoming a member of such organizations a criminal offence. Palestinian group Hamas is one of 80 international organizations banned by Britain.
Moving forward, groups identified as extremist through a robust assessment in the coming weeks will not face legal action, but will be denied funding or participation by the government.
Currently, no groups are officially defined as extremist under the previous definition in place since 2011.
Gove commented that some recent significant pro-Palestine demonstrations in central London were organized by “extremist organisations” and suggested that if individuals were aware of the affiliations of these groups they might moderate their support for such protests. Can reconsider.
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, spiritual head of the Anglican Communion, said, “The problem with a top-down definition of extremism is that it catches people who (we) don't want to catch.”
“It could accidentally disrupt what we have so preciously in this country, the exceptionally strong freedom of speech and the ability to disagree strongly,” Welby told BBC radio on Wednesday.
More than 50 survivors of Islamist attacks in Britain or family members of victims have signed a letter alleging that some politicians are “unknowingly aiding terrorists by associating Muslim identity with extremism”. “
(with inputs from agency)



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