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Britain mulls steps to combat extremism

Posted on Aug 23 2014 | IANS

London, Aug 23 : To discourage extremist elements originating from Britain, Home Secretary Theresa May has plans to bring in new laws that may strip Britons fighting in Syria and Iraq of their citizenship.

May is poised to bring in laws to tackle British extremists in the wake of the killing of US journalist James Foley by a jihadist with an English accent, the Guardian reported Saturday. She feels Britain must introduce all the legal powers necessary to win the struggle against terror that is feared to last for decades.

Banning orders for extremist groups will be looked at again alongside powers to stop radical preachers.

May said the "cowardly murder" this week of James Foley, who was working to highlight the suffering of the Syrian people to the world, has demonstrated once again "the very deadly threat we face from terrorism at home and abroad".

She also underlined changes to the law that means naturalised Britons, who are fighting overseas, can be stripped of their citizenship and excluded.

"We will be engaged in this struggle for many years, probably decades. We must give ourselves all the legal powers we need to prevail," the home secretary said in a Daily Telegraph article.

"I am looking again at the case for new banning orders for extremist groups that fall short of the legal threshold for terrorist proscription, as well as for new civil powers to target extremists who seek to radicalise others."

"People who insist on travelling to fight in Syria and Iraq will be investigated by the police and security services," she said. "For those who have dual nationality, I have the power to strip them of their citizenship and exclude them from the country.

May said: "Following the recent Immigration Act, I can, in certain circumstances, remove citizenship from naturalised Britons who are fighting overseas and exclude them too".

"And while it is illegal for any country to make its citizens stateless, any British national who returns from Syria and Iraq faces prosecution here for participating in terrorist activities abroad."

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