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A British Muslim tells the story of his acquittal of the government’s description of him as an “extremist”

Amman Today

publish date 2021-11-22 10:11:14

The Compass – Salman Butt, the Muslim man who was accused by the British government of being an “extremist preacher” in 2015, and to whom it later apologized six years later, said the word “extremism” was really problematic.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency on the occasion of his six-year legal struggle, Salman, who works as editor-in-chief of the “Islam of the 21st Century” website, said that describing something as extremist is a “philosophy of ignorance and tribalism.”

He noted that the problem with the word extremism is that it “lacks objectivity. It’s just a meaningless term now, and that’s what we’ve learned over the past six years.”

Referring to the day he first saw his name along with some other people who have been identified as extremists, Salman said he initially thought his photo had been misused.

He added, “I noticed that they were using my picture; I thought it might be someone else with the same name, and I just used my photo. But then, when I read more information on it, she was actually referring to me, and that was surprising.”

He pointed out that after that, he filed two legal challenges in a defamation case and a false accusation case.

He explained that his submission of a common law appeal was intended to explain why the government calls people extremists and defines the term, and to explain covert government-led operations to monitor individuals and make decisions about who they are and where they can speak.

** “The word extremism means nothing”

Salman said that more and more people are realizing that the word “extremism” doesn’t actually mean anything, adding that the term is “subjective.”

He stressed that this is part of the reason why the government tried to defend it (the term), but they “gave up and had to apologize, because the term does not have a strong working definition.”

He noted that it is very dangerous for governments to start classifying types of ideas and beliefs as extremist, because it is only a matter of time before that grows and more and more people are included under this classification.

“This is the main lesson for me that this word extremism doesn’t actually mean anything, and it shouldn’t be used in everyday speech,” he added.

The negative role of anti-Islam organizations

Salman indicated that anti-Islam organizations are among the sources of information that the government relies on in this regard.

He stressed that it turned out that they were taking information from anti-Islam organizations that classify Muslims as extremists and should not be allowed to speak on university campuses. He called on the British government to be more careful in receiving information.

Regardless of what happened to him, Salman said he accepted the apology, even though six years had passed.

He added, “I accept the apology. As for clearing my name personally, I take it as a welcome apology, despite it being six years late.”

He pointed out that the Islamic community should decide what Islamic views are normal and extremist, not anyone else’s.

** Salman’s case

The British government apologized on Monday to Salman, who was falsely labeled an extremist hate advocate in 2015.

Aidan Erdley, legal advisor to Home Secretary Priti Patel, said in court that the government “accepts that it is completely wrong to claim that Salman is an extremist hate advocate who legitimizes terrorism, and therefore the person who influences students must be protected”.

“We regret the damage done to him, and in particular the fact that the prosecution has been going on for so long,” he added in a statement.

Upon Salman’s legal challenge to the false accusation by the UK government, the Home Office agreed to have his name removed and to pay compensation to Salman along with legal costs.

Anatolia

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Source : ألدستور

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