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The CTS bill is now law, but ‘the battle is not over.’

It must be a sign of the times that as we mark 800 years of Magna Carta we expect a law that will tear it to shreds to pass through parliament largely unscathed. A community campaign was launched to #StopTheBill, a piece of legislation that will have a wide reaching impact, particularly against the Muslim community in Britain, giving the government Stasi-like powers to arrest, detain and render stateless, people whom the security agencies feel are at risk of ‘extremism’. Despite the large support this campaign received, this Bill has now been enacted into law. Though this may feel like the end – there are more actions that can be taken – here CAGE sets what you can do next.

Overview

As of 12 February 2015, the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill became an Act of Parliament. Despite this being one of the most immoral pieces of legislation since the Terrorism Act 2000, for now, we must accept that it has passed into law.

The final version of the CTS Act 2015 contains some amendments from the original bill, however, the vast majority of it has remained the same. The only real positive difference has been a recognition within the statute that higher education universities should be permitted the right to freedom of expression.

In order for Part 5 of the CTS Act, which deals with the implementation of PREVENT, to become workable, the Home Secretary will be required to get permission from both Houses to pass what is known as secondary legislation. This is where much of the detail of the CTS Act is contained including what the duty to stop individuals from being drawn into terrorism actually means.

The procedure for this is more straightforward than passing a bill into law. It requires consent from both Houses but not necessarily a vote, though opposing voices can demand one. Such processes are also overseen by a special committee called the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments which can take can take evidence and report to either House in order to assist with providing extra scrutiny.

To challenge this, there ought to be a multi-pronged approach to dealing with the impact of the guidance documents:

  1. Building a wide coalition of civil society organisations to protect the rule of law and civil liberties in the UK
  2. Providing reassurance and confidence to the community to counter the fear mongering
  3. Submitting concerns to both the Joint Committee on Human Rights and Statutory Instruments.
  4. Lobbying MPs on the specifics of the Statutory Instruments
  5. Lobbying the Lords on similar points.

What this all means

As of 12 February 2015, the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill became an Act of Parliament by virtue of the Royal Assent. This means that the provisions within the legislation are part of the legal framework of the UK and applicable to all those living within British borders. Despite this being the most immoral piece of legislation to be enacted by Parliament since the Terrorism Act 2000, for now, we must accept that it has passed into law.

The final version of the CTS Act 2015 contains some amendments from the original bill as it was first introduced before Parliament, however, the vast majority of it has remained the same. The only real positive difference has been a recognition within the statute that higher education universities should be permitted the right to freedom of expression – however that is still not a complete exemption, as the Home Secretary can still order monitoring bodies to overview whether there is a balance between freedom of expression and stopping potential threats.

Unlike the draft Bill, the Act has included the requirement for secondary legislation to be implemented in order for the Home Secretary’s addend guidance to become law. Previously, it was envisaged that the Home Secretary would simply write to the bodies or individuals under the statutory duty, however, s.29 (5) sets out,

“Guidance issued under subsection (1) takes effect on whatever day the Secretary of State appoints by regulations made by statutory instrument. A statutory instrument containing regulations under this subsection may not be made unless a draft of the instrument has been laid before each House of Parliament and approved by a resolution of each House.”

The above section clarifies that in order for the Part 5 statutory obligation to implement Prevent to become workable, the Home Secretary will be required to gain validation for the guidance through a statutory instrument agreed in both houses.

The purpose of secondary legislation is to add detail to legislation that has already been enacted, although it can also be used to amend the primary legislation. The secondary legislation can be brought in without a new Act of Parliament having to be passed. In the context of the CTS Act 2015, the purpose of this secondary legislation will be to add a large amount of detail to Part 5 in particular – the duty to stop individuals from being drawn into terrorism.

The secondary legislation usually takes the form of Statutory Instruments (SIs). Depending on the way in which the SI has been incorporated into CTS Act, it can either be through an ‘affirmative’ or ‘negative’ resolution. In the case of the government’s guidance on Prevent, it would seem that an affirmative resolution approach will be taken.

If the SI is required to be passed through an affirmative resolution, then both Houses have to give their endorsement. This usually takes place without a vote or debate. Opposition MPs are able to force a vote or debate on the matter if they have the will to do so. The SI will not become law if the Houses do not back the instrument.

The oversight body for the SIs is the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments; they can take evidence and report to either House in order to assist with providing extra scrutiny.

In light of the affirmative resolution route, there should be a multi-pronged approach to dealing with the impact of the guidance documents:

  1. Building a wide coalition of civil society organisations to protect the rule of law and civil liberties in the UK
  2. Providing reassurance and confidence to the community to counter the fear mongering
  3. Submitting concerns to both the Joint Committee on Human Rights and Statutory Instruments.
  4. Lobbying MPs on the specifics of the SI
  5. Lobbying the Lords on similar points.

Asim Qureshi, Research Director of CAGE, said:

‘The CTS Act is the latest in a long line of anti-terrorism measures that have been rushed through parliament without proper scrutiny and which have failed to look at the reasons behind politically motivated violence. As with previous anti-terrorism measures, it will not make us any safer. Rather it will largely backfire by alienating the very communities it should be engaging in order to find peaceful solutions.’

‘The historic criminal justice system in the UK is capable of handling cases of political violence. The CTS Act further entrenches a discriminatory parallel legal system used exclusively for Muslims. Evidence of this was seen most poignantly in the discrepancies between the sentencing of a British soldier who possessed an explosive device and a number of returnees from Syria who on arrest were said to pose ‘no threat to the British public’. The CTS Act is superfluous.’

‘More can still be done to oppose this bill. Section 5 of the Act which relates to PREVENT (and here) is reliant on a March vote before it can be implemented. In order to combat this attempt to crush dissent and criminalise the innocent, now is the time to create a broad alliance between civil society organisations, workers’ unions, students’ union, health centres and other. The battle is far from over.’

Source: www.islam21c.com

This information has been provided by CAGE

About Cage UK

3 comments

  1. “Building a wide coalition of civil society organisations to protect the rule of law and civil liberties in the UK”

    This will be easier said than done. I am a Nationalist, and a former member of the British National Party, who opposed and campaigned against the CTS bill because it is not in the interests of Nationalists or wider British society. Putting Prevent on a statutory footing opens up a can of worms as there is no legal or academic definition of extremism and radicalisation, so in the absence of a legal definition, a potential exists for abuses as extremism and radicalisation will be defined by the opinions and gut feelings of individuals.. This basically means that it can be used to crack down on anybody who’s political views are not in tune with the government, popular opinion, or British foreign policy, and are deemed by the police and security services to be a threat to the establishment’s position of power or the political status quo. I am well aware that before 9/11 Nationalists were the bogeymen of British society.

    Opposition to the CTS bill comes from far and wide with individuals not necessarily agreeing on other matters. This is the problem. Whilst there are a fair few Muslims who are happy to work with Nationalists, the recent Muslim left alliance makes things difficult because Marxists and Trots (who really are using Muslims for their own agenda) will not get in the same room as Nationalists even if they are fighting the same common enemy or campaigning on the same issue.

  2. The problem we are experiencing is a direct result of lack of respect and tolerance substituted by ignorance. The problem we are experiencing is the direct result of poor consciousness and awareness of selective “information” being conveyed to us through various mainstream media sources. There’s a new mainstream anti-Muslim racism that is built on fears for the survival of Western values. That’s the product of a nervous society in which social betterment is becoming increasingly difficult and in which there is a sense of omnipresent competition and struggle. The emotions generated by this are often not directed at a system, but at those who are different, at foreigners. This is also launched from the political arena and absorbed at grassroots level.

    None of the British Muslims convicted following the riots in Bradford and Oldham in 2001 or any of those linked to the London bombings had been to Islamic schools. An American Think Tank studied the educational back ground of 300 Jihadists; none of them were educated in Pakistani Madrasas. They were all Western educated by non-Muslim teachers. Bilingual Muslim children need bilingual Muslim teachers as role models. A Cambridge University study found that single-sex classes could make a big difference for boys. They perform better in single-sex classes. The research is promising because male students in the study saw noticeable gains in the grades. The study confirms the Islamic notion that academic achievement is better in single-sex classes.

    None of 7/7 bombers and British Muslim youths who are in Syria and Iraq are the product of Muslim schools. They are the product of British schooling which is the home of institutional racism with chicken racist native teachers. It is absurd to believe that Muslim schools, Imams and Masajid teach Muslim children anti-Semitic, homophobic and anti-western views. It is dangerously deceptive and misleading to address text books and discuss them out of their historical, cultural and linguistic context. It is not wrong to teach children that Jews are committing the same cruelty in Palestine what German did to them before or during Second World War. It is not wrong to teach children that anti-social behaviour, drinking, drugs, homosexuality, sex before marriage, teenage pregnancies and abortions are western values and Islam is against all such sins. This does not mean that Muslim schools teach children to hate westerners, Jews and homosexuals.

    The demand for Muslim schools comes from parents who want their children a safe environment with an Islamic ethos. Parents see Muslim schools where children can develop their Islamic Identity where they won’t feel stigmatised for being Muslims and they can feel confident about their faith. Muslim schools are working to try to create a bridge between communities. There is a belief among ethnic minority parents that the British schooling does not adequately address their cultural needs. Failing to meet this need could result in feeling resentment among a group who already feel excluded. Setting up Muslim school is a defensive response. State schools with monolingual teachers are not capable to teach English to bilingual Muslim children. Bilingual teachers are needed to teach English to such children along with their mother tongue. According to a number of studies, a child will not learn a second language if his first language is ignored.

    Indiscipline, incivility, binge drinking, drug addiction, gun and knife crimes, teenage pregnancies and abortion are part and parcel of British schooling. These are the reasons why majority of Muslim parents would like to send their children to Muslim schools with Muslim teachers as role models during their developmental periods. Only less than 5% attend Muslim schools and more than 95% keep on attending state and church schools to be mis-educated and de-educated by non-Muslim monolingual teachers.

    The West has never been at ease with Islam since the Crusades. It is unfortunate that huge oil supplies lie under the Arabian Deserts. It is the West that stirred the trouble that led to 9/11. That attack was a desperate act of by men prepared to lose their life. We need to get to grips on who is the terrorist? On 24 November 1963, Lyndon Johnson said, “the battle against communism… must be joined… with strength and determination. Some three million lives were lost in the consequential battles. The US had to pull out due to Public Opinion. Communism lived on. So who was the terrorist?

    The British establishment is wrong in thinking that Imams are to blame for extremism. Imams are not solution to the problem for extremism. Extremism is nothing to do with Imams. Extremism is not created from abroad, it is coming from within. Britain fails to help Muslim communities feel part of British society. Race trouble is being predicted by the Daily Express, because of an ethnic boom in UK major cities. Muslim communities need imams for the solutions of their needs and demands in their own native languages. Muslim parents would like to see their children well versed in Standard English and to go for higher studies and research to serve humanity. The fact is that majority of Muslim children leave schools with low grades because monolingual teachers are not capable to teach Standard English to bilingual Muslim children. A Muslim is a citizen of this tiny global village. He/she does not want to become notoriously monolingual Brit.

    Terrorism and sexual grooming is nothing to do with Masajid, Imams and Muslim schools. Those Muslim youths who have been involved in terrorism and sexual grooming are the product of western education system which makes a man stupid, selfish and corrupt. They find themselves cut off from their cultural heritage, literature and poetry. They suffer from identity crises and I blame British schooling.

    The shocking level of targeting of the Muslim community of Birmingham is indicative of the normalisation of the dehumanisation of the Muslims of Britain. Under the pretext of “extremism”, criminal undemocratic and unethical abuse of public institutions and the Muslims of the UK can occur without much accountability. This pervasive attitude, especially amongst officials like Michael Gove needs to change. Our schools are truly trying to develop our children to do well at schools so later in life they are able to stand on their own two feet, but if we stop our schools from doing this than our country will have up rise of unemployment, benefit issues, crime levels high, I think its time for you apologize and allow practitioners to do their job right.
    IA
    http://www.londonschoolofislamics.org.uk

  3. Is more information coming?
    Is there a contact number of people want to get involved with leading the efforts?

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