Pro-Lifers Threatened by 'Extremism' Plan

Michael Gove's announcement of a coming widening of the definition of 'extremism' has set alarm bells ringing. Tory rhetoric on the subject suggests that traditionalists, including opponents of abortion and Christians true to the Bible's condemnation of homosexuality will be caught up in the new clampdown.

Former head of Counter Terrorism Policing Neil Basu, former Chief of General Staff Lord Dannatt and three previous Home Secretaries signed a letter calling for a “shared understanding of extremism and a strategy to prevent it that can stand the test of time, no matter which party wins an election”.

Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Secretary Michael Gove is to set out plans to prevent groups deemed to be “extremist” for ‘undermining British Values’ from accessing venues or public funding.

Former Home Secretary Priti Patel, who signed the letter, told The Guardian: “It is really important that we do not malign the wrong people through the wrong definitions.

“We haven’t seen anything yet from the government, but it is easy, as we have seen historically, to hide behind labels or definitions which sometimes end up being counterproductive.”

The Government’s Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation Jonathan Hall KC said the proposed definition is “very loose” and the “distinction from the way we deal with terrorism couldn’t be clearer”.

He stated: “The proposed policy is about ideology. But a lot of respected scholars and thinkers would say you go after action, because ultimately what matters is if someone acts violently or encourages violence”.

 “All too often, new measures against terrorism or extremism end up endangering rather than protecting religious freedom. We saw this only too well when Ofsted inspectors investigating ‘British Values’ threatened to close Jewish schools if they didn’t teach children about same-sex marriage.

“This may not have been intended, but sadly it was the result. No innocent person, Christian or otherwise, should be endangered by vague legislation which threatens our historic liberties of freedom of speech and freedom of religion.”