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New definition of Islamophobia could cripple war on terror in UK, warns former terror boss
BRITAIN’S war on terror could be crippled if Ministers cave into MPs and accept a new controversial definition of islamophobia, an ex-terror tsar warns. Lord Carlile said the form of words describing Islamophobia as a ‘type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness’ would hamper efforts to stop and search extremists at ports and returning ISIS fighters.
As the Head of the Metropolitan Police’s Counter-Terrorism Command from 2011-2016, I led a significant part of this work – and saw close up the men and women engaged in it, the costs and the sheer hard work that goes into keeping the public safe from terrorist violence. It’s an impressive national effort. But what worries me now is that the police, the intelligence agencies and Ministers could soon have their hands tied if the Government chooses officially to adopt the All Party Parliamentarty Group on British Muslims’ definition of Islamophobia.
This asserts that “Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness”. It is my firm view that this deeply flawed definition – which wrongly conflates the religion of Islam with a racial group – could over time cripple the UK’s successful counter-terrorism strategy and counter-terrorism operations.
And this warning is at the heart of a research paper that I have co-authored for Policy Exchange, published today. Adopting the definition would hand the initiative to those who have been trying to dismantle the Government’s Countering Violent Extremism programme for years; it is no surprise to see many of those same campaigners and radical groups have been closely involved in the APPG’s work in developing the definition (as authors or sources).