Tory rights ‘smash and grab’ – threat to ban support for Palestine

Banners of the `Friends of Al Aqsa’ on a recent London march for Palestine – the FOA is threatened by Gove

‘THE UK government’s extremism definition is a smash and grab on our human rights,’ Sacha Deshmukh, Amnesty International Chief Executive, said yesterday.

He was speaking after Tory Communities Secretary Michael Gove announced to the House of Commons the government’s new definition of ‘extremism’ yesterday morning.
Gove said: ‘Extremism is the promotion or advancement of an ideology based on violence, hatred or intolerance, that aims to:
‘1 negate or destroy the fundamental rights and freedoms of others; or
‘2 undermine, overturn or replace the UK’s system of liberal parliamentary democracy and democratic rights; or
‘3 intentionally create a permissive environment for others to achieve the results in (1) or (2).’
Gove then listed organisations he said are a cause for concern under the new extremism definition.
They were:

  • British National Socialist Movement
  • Patriotic Alternative
  • Muslim Association of Britain
  • The British affiliate of the Muslim Brotherhood
  • Cage
  • MEND
  • 5 Pillars
  • The Friends of Al Aqsa

‘We will be holding these, and other organisations, to account to assess if they meet our definition of extremism and will take action as appropriate,’ Gove said.
Labour deputy leader, Angela Rayner gave Gove her full support, claiming that: ‘Hateful extremism threatens the safety of the UK, and that it is a serious problem that demands a serious response.’
Friends of Al-Aqsa (FOA) said: ‘We are a UK-based NGO demanding political change for Palestine and we won’t stop until this happens!
‘We’ve been at the forefront of campaigning for Palestine for 25 years and we’re proud to be the most-followed anti-apartheid organisation in the UK. Our work is led by volunteers and based on international law and UN resolutions.’
Azhar Qayum, the chief executive of Muslim Engagement and Development (MEND), said: ‘Delegitimising lawful dissent in this way is itself undermining liberal democratic principles.’
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