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Home Office warns of extremist preaching

13 December 2013

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Trial: Fusilier Lee Rigby's family arrive at the Old Bailey, on Wednesday of last week 

Trial: Fusilier Lee Rigby's family arrive at the Old Bailey, on Wednesday of last week 

A REVIEW of the Government's efforts to tackle extremism, set up after the killing of Lee Rigby in Woolwich, has said that ministers could and should do more to confront extremist preaching.

A report by the Government's Extremism Taskforce, Tackling Extremism in the UK, recommends a number of measures, including stopping extremists from exploiting charities, considering creating new ASBO-like civil orders to handicap efforts to radicalise others, and ensuring terrorist material hosted by foreign websites cannot be accessed in the UK.

In a statement on 4 December, the Home Secretary, Theresa May, spoke of practical steps to address "the gaps in our response to extremism". The report warns that, in the past, the Government has been "reticent" in challenging Islamism "because of a misplaced concern that attacking Islamist extremism equates to an attack on Islam itself". The report says, however: "Britain is stronger because of its open, multi-faith and multi-racial communities, which can tackle extremists together and challenge the view that it is not possible to be a true Muslim and be integrated in British society."

The Old Bailey heard last week how one of the men accused of killing Fusilier Rigby described himself as a "soldier of Allah" in a war against Britain. Michael Adebolajo, 28, denies murdering Fusilier Rigby, but told the court he considered al-Qaeda as his "brothers in Islam". In an interview with police officers, shown to the court, Mr Adebolajo said: "That word British is now associated with murder, pillaging, and rape. [There is a] war between the Muslims and the British people."

Prisons and schools should be targeted by counter-extremism efforts as they are places where the authorities can exert greater influence, Tackling Extremism in the UK says. It states: "All schools in England . . . including those with a faith ethos, must expect that they will be inspected and assessed on their measures to protect their pupils from extremist material." Rules on legal correspondence for prisoners will also be tightened.

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