London – CAGE condemns the draconian proposals set out in the new Extremism Bill announced yesterday as part of the Queen’s speech.

This will be the 11th anti-terror measure in recent years despite comprehensive laws dealing with criminal conduct.

The latest plans include banning orders, prohibiting ‘extremist’ organisations who use ‘hate speech’ in public places, and imposes strict measures against the broadcasting of ‘extremist’ material.

The Bill is yet another a disproportionate response to the perceived problem and coupled with the Investigatory Powers Bill, the legislative landscape will resemble that of a police state rather than a democracy. This is shocking on its own and more profound on the anniversary of the Magna Carta.

CAGE spokesperson Ibrahim Mohamoud said:

“This Bill is a direct attack on democratic rights in general, and it is no surprise that PM David Cameron was recently likened to the autocratic regime of Vladimir Putin for his harsh treatment of critics.”

“The proposals represent a further erosion of the right of dissent and freedom of expression. The question of who is extremist should not be determined by politicians but subjected to rigorous debate by the public. Otherwise anyone who is critical of government’s policies, both foreign and domestic, is liable to be labelled an ‘extremist’.”

“The Magna Carta was a watershed in creating a long established tradition to protect rights and shun attempts to classify individuals and organisations as ‘extremist’ with a view to depriving them of their rights. The proposals represent another attack on citizenry; it will deter young people from engaging in important issues as well as reduce active citizenship.”

“It is ironic how the Prime Minister calls for Big Society Engagement, and yet the Bill threatens the kind of independent-minded engagement from civil society that this requires.”

“CAGE has previously established how local PREVENT teams use unethical and arguably unlawful tactics to undermine the freedoms of expression and assembly. The proposals seek to put that underhanded activity on a statutory footing.”

“Whilst the measures are aimed at the minority Muslim community, we continue to call all right-minded, fair and tolerant people to support our work for the protection of the rule of law.”

(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.)