Terrorism, Extremism and the Law

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Manage episode 165020402 series 1301232
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Do the laws designed to counter terrorism and extremism strike the right balance between stopping violent attacks and protecting our civil liberties? Weighing up this question has been one of the main tasks of David Anderson QC - the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation. Mr Anderson is due to step down after six years in the post, and he speaks to Joshua Rozbenberg about the changes he has seen in counter-terrorism law, and whether the net has now been cast too wide in the fight against extremism. One critic of the current law is Salman Butt who is bringing a judicial review case against the Home Office, which he says unfairly labelled him as an extremist speaker. Mr Butt, who is the editor of the website Islam 21c, says the government conflates conservative religious views with extremism and this unfairly targets members of the Muslim community. Next month at the High Court he will be challenging sections of the government's Prevent counter-extremism policy, which he says conflicts with the right to free speech. These concerns are shared by the Home Affairs select committee which has also criticised the policy, with MPs saying that that unless concerns among the Muslim community are addressed, Prevent would continue to be viewed by many as toxic. Law in Action has also discovered that one of the key architects of Prevent also believes it has lost its way. In this programme, Joshua Rozenberg speaks to former GCHQ director Sir David Omand about how the strategy was devised and how it differs to his original vision. Producers: Richard Fenton-Smith & Matt Bardo Editor: Penny Murphy.

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