London – CAGE has published a report in reaction to a Defence Select Committee call for submissions on whether “Islamist terrorism” is “the existential threat to the UK”.

We have chosen not to engage in the process on this issue because we believe it is unacceptable for a parliamentary committee to link Islam with the idea of an “existential threat”.

It is important to note that verified and reliable statistics show that acts of political violence perpetrated in the UK are not an existential threat. This alarmist approach is misleading and problematic for the following reasons:

  • It links Islam with violence and ignores the many causes that lead individuals to violence.
  • It establishes a dialectic that reinforces notions of ‘us v them’, inviting threat management on a mass scale in a panic-driven environment.

CAGE has prepared a rebuttal that interrogates the very premise of the questions raised by the Defence Committee. It provides an evidence based analysis and a way forward that encourages upholding the rule of law, mutual trust, openness and full transparency, so that we may arrive at real solutions.

Asim Qureshi, research director for CAGE, said:

“The assumptions at the heart of the Defence Select Committee’s question are fear-based and deeply problematic. The question itself is alarmist and therefore invites an alarmist response. It seeks to skew the debate based on unknowns, while also clouding the core issue: that the state simply must acknowledge the destructive effect of current policies both foreign and domestic, and multiple other causes for grievances taking root.”

“CAGE acknowledges that governments have a duty to protect their citizens, but we are of the view that we need a new way forward. However, rather than over reliance on legislation and policy that seeks future threats, criminalises communities, and separates families, police and courts must be bound by due process and an un-politicised body of law.”

Read our response here

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(NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.)