“Privilege” to be taken from extremists

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith will today outline new plans to remove extremists from Britain.

The plans will extend to anti-abortionists, animal rights extremists, holocaust deniers, neo-Nazis and, most famously, extremist clerics.

The plans are expected to stop “preachers of hate” inciting hatred against Britain while staying here.

The new rules would allow the Home Office to name individuals who are stopped from entering Britain. They have only ever been revealed after they publicly complained about being barred from staying here.

Smith said yesterday: “Coming to Britain is a privilege that I don’t want to extend to those who abuse our values”.

There have been 230 people banned since 2005. 80 of these people were religious extremists.

One of the most high profile people to be banned under current rules is Omar Bakri Mohammed, an Islamic preacher who was banned after the 7/7 bombings. He is a controversial figure who proclaimed the 9/11 bombers as the “magnificent 19”.

There has been opposition to the plans. Patrick Mercer, a Conservative member of the Home Affairs Committee, questioned the worth of the plans: “A good intention, but I wonder exactly what it will achieve.

“It’s the people who are working undercover, who aren’t known about, who are working inside the community and influencing people there, they are the really dangerous people.”

Inayat Bunglawala, media secretary for the Muslim Council, was critical: “This has all the hallmarks of a PR gimmick to make it look like the Government are doing something about preaching”.