Lee Rigby attack

Move to prevent radicalisation of British Muslims

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 28 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 28 May, 2013, 2:49am

A battery of measures to prevent radicalisation of British Muslims was outlined by the home affairs minister, Theresa May.

They included tougher pre-emptive censorship of internet sites, a lower threshold for banning extremist groups and renewed pressure on universities and mosques to reject so-called hate preachers.

After four days in which ministers have been praised for avoiding a kneejerk response to the killing of soldier Lee Rigby outside his barracks in Woolwich, south London, Whitehall swung into action on Sunday.

It has promised a new task force, chaired by the prime minister, and a root-and-branch review of Prevent, the government strategy to combat radicalisation.

May said she was concerned thousands were under threat of radicalisation. She said there was a case for strengthening powers of the media regulator Ofcom to block or take down extremist messages on the internet. She said: "There is no doubt that people are able to watch things through the internet which can lead to radicalisation."

There is no doubt that people are able to watch things through the internet which can lead to radicalisation

In addition, ministers are looking at using orders to ban organisations that don't meet the threshold for proscription; tightening the duties on universities to take action against extremist preachers; closing unregulated schools and madrassas, as well as requiring mosque committees to be accountable for the imams they invite to speak; and protecting the budgets of the counter-terrorist police and the intelligence services in next month's spending review.

The Prevent programme, set up by the last Labour government, has already been reviewed once by the coalition.

May also challenged the BBC for interviewing radical preacher Anjem Choudary in the wake of the Woolwich attack.

She said he has "disgusting views and I think it is right that we look at how those views are being presented".