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Terrorism

Volume 696: debated on Wednesday 5 December 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Statement by the Lord President (Baroness Ashton of Upholland) on 14 November (Official Report, cols. 477-95), what will be their criteria to define radicalisation in their action to root out terrorism; whether they will distinguish between radicals who do not embrace terrorism and those who do; and what steps they will take to develop contact and dialogue with the former. [HL346]

It is not the Government's intention to in any way curtail the fundamental democratic right for individuals and organisations to seek to represent their views or impinge on lawful freedom of expression.

However, the Government have made clear that they are fundamentally rebalancing their engagement with Muslim organisations towards those organisations which take a leadership role in rejecting and condemning violent extremism and upholding shared values. A key government objective in engaging with organisations or individuals claiming to represent or work on behalf of Muslim communities is to counter violent extremism and foster community cohesion.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Statement by the Lord President (Baroness Ashton of Upholland) on 14 November (Official Report, cols. 477-95), whether they will clarify the terms “deal with” and “tackle” in relationship to radicalisation in their action to root out terrorism and to win hearts and minds. [HL347]

The Prime Minister's Statement of 14 November set out the Government’s approach to countering radicalisation. This will be delivered by working with communities and individuals to:

challenge extremist propaganda and support alternative voices;

disrupt the promoters of violent extremism by strengthening our institutions and supporting individuals who may be being targeted;

increase the capacity of communities to resist and reject violent extremism; and,

address issues of concern exploited by ideologues and where, by emphasising our shared values across communities, we can both celebrate and act on what unites us.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Statement by the Lord President (Baroness Ashton of Upholland) on 14 November (Official Report, cols. 477-95), how they will define “extremist” in their determination to act against extremist influences on the internet and in institutions, including prisons, universities and some places of worship; and how they will avoid counterproductivity and ensure not playing into the hands of dangerous extremists by too loose a definition. [HL350]

In this context extremist influences are those that can increase the risk of people becoming violent extremists. In the context of international terrorism, the main extremist influence is a narrative that manipulates political and humanitarian issues and distorts legitimate theology to support the violent extremists’ violent and divisive agenda, which justifies terrorism.

Challenging this, and providing a positive alternative, is a key element of our strategy. We will work with communities to deliver this, building consensus and isolating the terrorists.