The Muslim Target: Weaponising Extremism, Eroding Human Rights, and Silencing Dissent

Earlier this week, Community Policy Forum published an interim briefing in light of reports indicating plans for Michael Gove to unveil a new government definition of ‘extremism’. The official update to the definition has now been announced, alongside guidance for ‘principles of engagement’ directed at ensuring that government departments and officials “are not inadvertently providing a platform, funding or legitimacy to groups or individuals who attempt to advance extremist ideologies”.

With the plans now formally announced, the following is an updated briefing reflecting on the implications of these announcements. It remains our view that these changes represent an attack on civil liberties, human rights, and political freedoms.

The new definition and accompanying guidance, developed without parliamentary oversight and public consultation, raises new fears of government attempts to circumvent judicial scrutiny, avoid accountability, undermine protest, and silence its political opponents through the enactment of the highly contested Shawcross recommendations. While Muslims continue to be the primary targets of these securitised political manoeuvrings, all minority opinions that contradict government agendas are at risk. Ultimately, these changes have significant consequences for a healthy and functioning democracy and will only exacerbate structural Islamophobia across society.

Read the full briefing:

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