“Blair to curb human rights in war on terror,” “Row over tougher rules on preachers of hate,” and “Blair vows to root out extremism” are examples of the headlines dominating Great Britain this morning as Tony Blair announces his government’s intention to change the rules ofasylum and immigration to reflect an end to the safe haven for radical Islamists that England has become over the past decades. Blair, yesterday:
“New grounds [for deportation and exclusion] will include fostering hatred, advocating violence to further a person’s beliefs or justifying or validating such violence … Let no-one be in any doubt. The rules of the game are changing”
How sweeping are the changes? From the Guardian:
Will the government now be able to close institutions such as mosques?
“We will consult on a new power to order closure of a place of worship which is used … for fomenting extremism”
Mr Blair says he will consult with Muslim leaders to draw up a list of any foreign imams to ensure that they are suitable to preach in the UK. Those not suitable will be excluded from Britain.
He wants to work with the Muslim community to ensure better integration.
What actions or words could result in someone being deported or barred from entering the UK?
“The home secretary today publishes new grounds for deportation and exclusion”
Charles Clarke’s list of “unacceptable behaviour” speech or action in or outside Britain. It includes the use of writing, preaching, public speaking, a website or a position of responsibility to foment terrorism, justify or glorify terrorism, foment other serious criminal activity, foster hatred and advocate violence in support of particular beliefs. Mr Blair said a database would be created of individuals who had demonstrated “unacceptable behaviour”.
The government has also given itself power to decide which beliefs or actions make someone eligible for deportation; the list of unacceptable behaviour says anyone who promotes “extreme views that are in conflict with the UK’s culture of tolerance” could be deported.
Make no mistake: this is not an example of legislating against ‘thought crimes’