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Plans for 'extremist disruption orders' to be fast-tracked

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Prime Minister David Cameron has announced plans to fast-track a new counter-terrorism Bill which includes proposals to introduce ‘extremist disruption orders.’  

The plans, which were first unveiled by Home Secretary Theresa May at the Conservative Party conference last year, will be included in the Queen’s speech on 27th May.

Threat to free speech

During her address, Mrs May had spoken about the danger from groups such as Islamic State and Boko Haram.

However, concerns have been raised that the broad scope of the measures would pose a significant threat to freedom of speech, with opponents suggesting that they could be used against Christians who articulate biblical teaching.

According to a letter sent by Chancellor George Osborne to constituents, the orders would seek to ‘eliminate extremism in all its forms’, challenging those who ‘spread hate but do not break the law ’ and restricting activities that ‘justify hatred’ on the basis of gender, disability, religion or sexual orientation.

Contentious issues

However, campaigners have highlighted that Christians and others who speak out on contentious issues, such as the redefinition of marriage or the problems of Sharia law, could be caught in the net.

‘Silencing people like us’

At the time of Theresa May’s Conference speech, Andrea Williams, Chief Executive of Christian Concern, outlined her concerns, saying:

“In order to outlaw 'extremism' you have to be able to define the moral framework by which you live; our modern day politicians are unable to do this. They are the products of a relativist, secular, individualistic regime that has forgotten the Christian roots that once undergirded our nation.

“... Theresa May will deny that her proposals are designed to silence people like us. But they do. They already have.”

Read the full commentary here.

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