Criminalising dissent in the ‘war on terror’

“In practice, the introduction of the new offence of glorification is likely to widen the net beyond incitement but in an entirely arbitrary way. Noticeably, the whole debate on the glorification clause has been conducted on the tacit assumption that only Muslims will be prosecuted. Charles Clarke makes much of the idea that juries know instinctively what glorification means and will take notice of the context in assessing whether glorification has occurred. In fact, given the arbitrary nature of terms like ‘glorification’, juries will be forced to make entirely subjective decisions and, in the current context of Islamophobia, it is likely that they will be much readier to convict someone who has already been labelled a Muslim extremist by the press.”

Arun Kundnani argues that the new crime of “glorifying” terrorism, recently introduced under the Terrorism Act 2006, will lead to the suppression of legitimate debate on the causes of terror.

IRR news, 2 May 2006