Saturday, August 06, 2005

New Anti-Terror Laws a Proportionate Response

So it seems the time for tolerance and probably hopeless attempts at persuasion of physical jihadists is well and truly over, and the time for legislative enforcement is here.

From the Guardian here are the changes that are currently being proposed:

New anti-terrorism legislation in the autumn, to include an offence of condoning or glorifying terrorism anywhere, not just in the UK.

Automatic refusal of asylum for anyone who has participated in terrorism or has anything to do with it anywhere.

The addition of the Hizb ut-Tahrir and al-Muhajiroun Islamist organisations to the list of prohibited groups.

A consultation over powers to order the closure of a place of worship which is used as a centre for fomenting extremism.

Consultation with Muslim leaders about drawing up a list of those not suitable to preach who will be excluded from Britain.

Despite my natural inclination to resist the creation of any more legislation, it is hard not to think that this is about right. We cannot mess around with those who are extremely unlikely to change their minds in a hurry and who will murder others way before before they do. As always, the principle of proportionality applies here: debate over matters of theological interpretation and ethics with those of moderate persuasion who present no risk, and the hard hand of the law for those who won't listen and will kill. As Thomas Mann wrote: "Tolerance becomes a crime when applied to evil".

Incidentally, in announcing these measures, Blair distinctly pronounced the word people "peepil" a la Michael Howard, which seems to offer a clue as to why Mr Blair suddenly seems to be managing to construct some rather more cogent arguments of late.

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