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Michael Gove defines extremism, and he identifies three Muslim and two far-right groups that could face restrictions


Michael Gove informed MPs that several organisations, including three Muslim-led groups and two far-right groups, will undergo evaluation based on the government's contentious new extremism definition.

The community secretary identifies the Muslim Association of Britain, Mend, and Cage as groups with beliefs and orientations that are of concern and stated that they would be held accountable following the introduction of a new definition of extremism.

Gove highlighted the British National Socialist Movement and Patriotic Alternative as organisations that espoused neo-Nazi ideology, warranting further scrutiny.

However, the community secretary's new definition faced criticism from members of parliament and various parties. According to a political analyst, Robert Jenricka former Conservative cabinet minister, expressed his opinion that the approach taken "lands in no man's land" fails to effectively address the issue of true extremists while also not adequately protecting contrarian views.

Gove expressed his concerns to MPs about specific organisations in Britain, such as the Muslim Association of Britain, Cage, and Mend, due to their Islamist orientation and beliefs.

We will closely monitor these and other organisations to determine if they align with our standards of extremism and will respond accordingly.

"It is evident that there are certain organisations that advocate for neo-Nazi ideology, forced repatriation, the establishment of a white ethno-state, and the intimidation of minority groups. These groups raise legitimate concerns, and their activities will be evaluated based on the new definition."

In a preliminary version of Gove's ministerial statement, specific organisations were identified as having a divisive influence within Muslim communities, while another group was flagged as a matter of concern.

Gove announced the government's fresh definition of extremism on Thursday.

In his address to the Commons, he assured that the newly proposed definition would not impact individuals who hold gender-critical viewsconservative religious beliefs, trans activistsenvironmental protest groups, or those exercising their right to free speech.

Jenrick, a former Home Office minister, expressed concerns in the Commons about the effectiveness of the definition. He believes that while it was well-intentioned, it must address the true extremists and adequately protect those with contrarian views. He worries that this definition could be used against individuals expressing dissenting opinions, not immediately but potentially in the future.

What are the recent changes in the definition of extremism in the UK, and why are these changes being met with criticism?

The revised definition, to be disseminated throughout government and Whitehall, states: "Extremism involves advocating or promoting an ideology rooted in violence, hatred, or intolerance, with the objective of either negating or eradicating the fundamental rights and freedoms of others, subverting or overthrowing the UK's system of liberal parliamentary democracy and democratic rights, or deliberately fostering an environment conducive to achieving these outcomes."

The previous guidelines, published in 2011, outlined the criteria for defining individuals or groups as extremist. According to these guidelines, individuals or groups would be considered extremists if they opposed core British values such as democracythe rule of lawindividual liberty, and the mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs.

According to government sources, groups that still need to meet the new definition will be identified in the upcoming weeks.

It is widely acknowledged that there will be no appeals process if a group is deemed extremist. Instead, groups must contest a ministerial decision in the courts.

There has been a significant rise in antisemitic incidents and anti-Muslim hatred since the terrorist attack on Israel by Hamas on 7 October.

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