New Anti-Terrorism Law To Tackle Extremism, UK Home Secretary Pledges

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Britain's Home Secretary Theresa May speaks at the Conservative Party's annual Spring Forum, in central London March 16, 2013.

Britain's home secretary,  Theresa May, announced the UK government's intention to pass new laws to tackle extremist groups within the country. Dubbing the proposed new laws “ASBOs [Anti-Social Behavior Orders] for terrorists,” May said legislation would be introduced in Britain to prosecute people who try to radicalise others, the minister said.

The proposals come on the back of revalations that many British citizens are travelling to the Middle East to fight for the Islamic State, also known as ISIS. Recent reports suggest that there are twice as many British Muslims fighting for ISIS are there are serving in the UK's armed services.

In an article she wrote for The Daily Telegraph, May said that under the new laws extremist groups could be banned even if they are not directly involved in terrorism. She also added that while the struggle against extremism might go on for decades, the government must have all legal powers to counter it, the BBC reported.

May admitted that the threat from extremist groups to the UK  is very serious and said:

“Dealing with terrorism and extremism will require continued commitment and international collaboration.”

May said that since she was made home secretary, she has constantly tried to push for legislation to ensure that law-enforcement authorities have access to all the resources they need.

"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," May said adding that the new law will also require public bodies to act against radicalization.

In a bit to check the spread of radical Islam in the country May said that “people who insist on travelling to fight in Syria and Iraq will be investigated by the police and security services."

More than 500 British Muslims, some of whom are as young as 16, have travelled to the war zones in Iraq and Syria to fight for the Islamist extremist with many fighting for the Islamic State. The recent beheading of American journalist James Foley was alleged carried out by a British jihadist in Syria.

Representatives of the Islamic State are active on social media, which it also uses to recruit fighters.

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