Radical Islamists, can’t Britain just do like the French?

MosquesSome right-wing Frenchmen opine that radical Islamists will eventually take over France through the pregnant bellies of Muslim women. It's far more likely that the UK would be conquered first, if that were true. A more racially and religiously diverse nation than France, Britain is already well into an upturn in British-born Muslims. The last ONS census indicated that Islam is the nation's third religious belief after Christianity and "None", but it is also the fastest growing faith in Britain. Already, over half of Londoners define themselves as non-white or non-Christian and often both.

Whether they are immigrants or British born, most Muslims stay on for a comfortable life in one of Europe's most tolerant nations. They usually work and study harder than the more slothful indigenous young Britons and they tend to integrate well. Inevitably, however, there is also an extremist fringe who find Britain too unacceptable to adapt to, but too generous to leave. Abu Qatada, who has breached bail conditions of a previous conviction for immigration law, is one of these.

For the past eight years successive British governments have tried to deport this preacher of hate. Abu Qatada has mounted a successful legal challenge against every threat of extradition to Jordan where he has been sentenced to life imprisonment on terrorism convictions. The right-wing British press wrongly lays the blame at the door of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and its legislation against deportation to a country suspected of using torture to extract evidence. France and other European countries have no such qualms about ridding themselves of radical foreign elements without contravening the ECHR.

The reason is simple. EU law does not keep advocates of terror like Abu Qatada in Britain but rather British law, under which free speech, however hateful, is well protected and under which a foreign suspect can remain in the country while his immigration appeal process is ongoing. French law has no such provision, so convicted hate crime and immigration abusers are often ousted upon their initial conviction – at times directly from the courtroom to the airport in a police van.

Home Secretary Theresa May would like to do the same but Britain's Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SAIC) isn't having it. May and her team are now drafting new deportation legislation that even Labour benches are likely to support. In March she also signed a fair trial guarantee treaty with Jordan and now, finally, Abu Qatada has agreed to voluntary deportation if the treaty is ratified.

Some speculate that this is yet another of his legal ploys but isn't this a clear case when it would be easier to do things the French way?


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