Thursday, August 25, 2005

the UN shows its teeth

Expulsions illegal, UN tells Clarke (Guardian)

The new counter-terrorism measures proposed by the government seem rather draconian. The UK will

"exclude or deport non-UK citizens [for] writing, producing, publishing or distributing material; public speaking including preaching; running a website; using a position of responsibility such as teacher, community or youth leader to express views which 'foment, justify or glorify terrorist violence in furtherance of particular beliefs; seek to provoke others to terrorist acts ... or foster hatred which might lead to inter-community violence in the UK'"

First of all this creates a two-tier justice system - one law for UK citizens and another for non-UK citizens. What if a person who was born and bred in the UK converted to Islam and started fomenting terrorism? What about the hateful activities of the BNP and other fascists?

Secondly, they can't just deport people for a first offence - couldn't they prosecute or imprison them first? Especially if they are going to deport them to countries which use torture, which is why the UN have got involved. Obviously the government needs to do something to prevent atrocities like 7th July from happening again, but measures like this will just polarise the situation and do nothing to create mutual trust and understanding.

There are people trying to build bridges between the Muslim community and the "rest of us". And there are plenty of moderate Muslims pointing out that suicide-bombing is not condoned by the Koran, which forbids suicide and isn't too keen on killing people. The government should be engaging and listening, and be seen to be engaging and listening.

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