The Refugee council has signed up to a new campaign that aims to ensure that any measures adopted by Parliament or the government against terrorism do not exclude or criminalise people who condemn terrorist attacks and whose cooperation is indispensable to the work of the police in fighting terrorism.
The campaign was launched by, among others, the Mayor of London, Liberty and the main Muslim and Sikh organisations. The campaign plans to lobby ministers and MPs explaining that there is grave concern amongst the overwhelming majority of the communities whose co-operation is essential to identify and defeat terrorists and their supporters.
A lobby of Parliament and a central London rally are planned for when Parliament considers any proposals.
A joint statement was released today setting out the need for a ‘broad consensus’ in the fight against terrorism and expressing concern that parts of the Government’s anti-terror proposals may ‘risk criminalising or excluding people who condemn terrorist attacks and whose cooperation is indispensable to the work of the police in fighting terrorism.’
Mayor of London Ken Livingstone said: ‘I support all measures to deal effectively with those planning, supporting or carrying out attacks like those on 7 July. We all share the overriding priority of stopping further terrorist attacks and bring those responsible to justice. But I oppose measures worded so loosely that they would in the past have banned Nelson Mandela and his supporters from Britain, and will give rise to great fear and concern amongst communities whose support is vital to the police at this time. And I am concerned that those in the media and elsewhere who are trying to cynically exploit the aftermath of the bombings to witch hunt and attack legitimate mainstream Muslims in this country on issues like the Middle East are only helping the terrorists.’
Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty, said: ‘There is a need to re-create the consensus that existed after the 7th July attacks. We need to focus on what unites us in the struggle against terrorism- our fundamental values. These values are Human rights; the bedrock of our beliefs not a convenience, a luxury or a pick and mix.’
The statement reads:
Only united communities will defeat terrorism and protect civil liberties
‘Our lives, rights and freedoms are precious and we will not surrender them. We stand united in our refusal to be defeated by those who seek to indiscriminately murder people of all faiths and races in our country.
‘We support the police and measures against those who plan, support or carry out such terrorist attacks. However, a number of the security measures which the government has said it is considering risk criminalising or excluding people who condemn terrorist attacks and whose cooperation is indispensable to the work of the police in fighting terrorism.
‘We believe that the fight against terrorism requires a broad consensus around its means and the involvement of all communities to isolate and defeat those who would use terror to divide us.’
Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London
Shami Chakrabarti, Liberty
Sir Iqbal Sacranie, Muslim Council of Britain
Margaret Lally, Refugee Council
Sadiq Khan MP
Alex Salmond MP
Mark Oaten MP
Frank Dobson MP
Tony Lloyd MP
Nicky Gavron AM, Deputy Mayor of London
Baroness Sarah Ludford MEP
Mohammed Sawalha, Muslim Association of Britain
Hugo Charlton, Chair – Green Party
Amrik Singh, Sikh Federation (UK)
Colin Slee, Dean of Southwark
Confederation of Indian Organisations (UK)
David Prentis, General Secretary, UNISON
Billy Hayes, General Secretary, CWU
Paul Kenny, General Secretary, GMB
Keith Norman, General Secretary, ASLEF
Kat Fletcher, President, National Union of Students
James Wood QC, Doughty Street Chambers
Ian McDonald QC
Karon Monaghan, Matrix Chambers
Peter Herbert, Society of Black Lawyers
Yasmin Qureshi, Human Rights Advisor to the Mayor of London
National Assembly Against Racism
Fedbir – Kurdish Federation UK
To sign up to the statement, email firstname.lastname@example.org.