The term “could be used to challenge legitimate free speech on the historical or theological actions of Islamic states.”
The new Islamophobia definition proposed by an all-party British parliamentary group could undermine police efforts in countering Islamic terrorism, the UK police warned.
The legal adoption of the term could hamper law enforcement officers from going after terrorists and those spreading jihadist propaganda, UK’s National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), a body representing country’s police chiefs, said.
The definition conflates hate-speech and legitimate criticism of Islam, according to the police body. “As it stands, this definition risks shutting down debate about any interpretation of the tenets of Islam which are at odds with our laws and customs, which in turn would place our police officers and members of the judicial system in an untenable position,” NPCC chief Martin Hewitt wrote in a letter addressed to Prime Minister Theresa May.
The definition empowers suspected jihadis and jeopardizes counter-terror operations. It “would potentially allow those investigated by police and the security services for promoting extremism, hate and terrorism to legally challenge any investigation and potentially undermine many elements of counter-terrorism powers and policies on the basis that they are “Islamophobic’,” head of UK counter-terror policing, Neil Basu, advised.
British newspaper Independent reported the letter expressing the concerns of the UK police chiefs:
Police leaders have raised concerns that a proposed definition of Islamophobia will undermine counterterror operations and threaten freedom of speech.
In a letter to the prime minister, the head of the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) said the change could “undermine many elements of counterterrorism powers and policies”, including port stops, bans on terrorist groups and propaganda, and the legal duty requiring schools, councils and the NHS to report suspected extremism.
NPCC chair Martin Hewitt said: “We take all reports of hate crime very seriously and will investigate them thoroughly; however, we have some concerns about the proposed definition of ‘Islamophobia’ made by the All-Party Parliamentary Group [APPG] on British Muslims.
“We are concerned that the definition is too broad as currently drafted, could cause confusion for officers enforcing it and could be used to challenge legitimate free speech on the historical or theological actions of Islamic states.
“There is also a risk it could also undermine counterterrorism powers, which seek to tackle extremism or prevent terrorism.
The Labour Party, Liberal Democrats, and Scottish Conservatives adopted the definition. Prime Minister May has so far refused to adopt the proposal, but the government has faced mounting pressure from British politicians — including members of her own party — and British Muslim groups.
Former Conservative party co-chair Sayeeda Warsi slammed the police for criticizing the Islamophobia definition, calling NPCC chief Hewitt’s letter an “irresponsible scaremongering.” Warsi, who has repeatedly faced accusations of making antisemitic remarks, also wants an inquiry into ‘Islamophobia’ within the Conservative party.
Britain is home to some 25,000 Islamists “who could pose threat” to the country, a 2017 intelligence assessment found. Hundreds of Islamic State terrorists traveled back to Britain after committing heinous war crimes in Syria and Iraq. Around 400 ISIS returnees were availing “taxpayer-funded right to return bid,” a recent report in the UK daily Telegraph said.
The security services, already overwhelmed by the surging Islamism across the UK, will face new legal hurdles if Islamophobia is enshrined in the British law. A state-sanctioned definition of Islamophobia, as proposed by the lawmakers, will prevent law enforcement from understanding the true nature of jihad warfare, an existential threat to the West, by deliberately criminalizing free inquiry into the theological roots of Islamic terrorism.
UK talkshow host Maajid Nawaz wants the term “Islamophobia” scrapped
[Cover image via YouTube]
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