Big Brother smiles upon the UK’s planned expansion of the term “extremism” to include groups far beyond the previous definition. Fallout from this change would have wide-ranging effects on many “peaceful and legitimate” groups such as The Muslim Council of Britain, direct action environmentalists, and, hopefully, the 90’s skateboarding community. That latter group having committed the treason of chugging Mountain Dew, pulling off gnarly kick flips, and thumbing their noses at “bogus” authority figures like high school principals and small town law enforcement.
Big Brother reminds you to ignore errant critics such as Martin Bright of the Index on Censorship who said, “This is an unwarranted attack on freedom of expression.” Ilyas Nagdee of Amnesty International added, “The current definition of extremism is already applied so broadly.” When reached for comment backstage at the Vans Warped Tour, Tony Hawk was inaudible due to an encore of Blink 182’s “All the Small Things.”
Fears that the persecution of peaceful Muslim advocates may radicalize new generations of terrorists are irrelevant. Conversely, skateboarding enthusiasts fear that the persecution of their community could result in a resurgence of the rollerblading fad. A trend that was as lame as it was dangerous.
That’s a bridge Big Brother will cross (and not in-line skate over) when he comes to it.
PRINTING JUST THE FACTS
- The UK government has proposed a new definition of extremism, covering anyone who “undermines” the country’s institutions and values or who has “Sustained support for, or continued uncritical association with organisations or individuals who are exhibiting extremist behaviours.”
- The proposal, prepared by the office of Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Michael Gove, has been discussed by the Home Office and the prime minister's office, with no public consultation.
- The government's previous definition from the 2011 Prevent strategy focused on “active opposition to fundamental British values.” The new one risks criminalizing legitimate dissent and suppressing free speech, critics say.
- Amnesty International and other critics say this could hinder people from organizing and mobilizing against certain policies.
- Organizations like the Muslim Council of Britain, Palestine Action, and Muslim Engagement and Development could be “captured” by this new definition. Former UK home secretary Suella Braverman recently described pro-Palestinian demonstrations as “hate marches.”
Sources: The Observer, Middle East Eye, The National, and Express.
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