The Christian Institute supports Government efforts to combat terrorism and the ideologies which underpin it. However, we are very concerned about the vague definition of extremism.
In order to combat the Islamist threat, the Government is seeking to curtail ‘non-violent extremism’.
When she was Home Secretary, Theresa May said that the ‘anti-extremism’ strategy involves promoting “acceptance of different faiths”. This confuses acceptance of people with acceptance of beliefs. This approach has already seen an attempt to bar an opponent of terrorist group Islamic State from speaking at a university for fear she might cause offence to Muslims. In this climate, there are serious concerns about how the definition of extremism will be applied to Christians.
There is a real threat of Islamist terrorism. But you cannot protect democracy by undermining the foundations of democracy. Our historic liberties of freedom of speech and freedom of religion must not be jeopardised.