Theresa May to introduce anti-jihadist powers to tackle 'deadly extremist ideology'

Theresa May believes the struggle will 'last for decades'

Home Secretary Theresa May is planning to introduce new anti-jihadist powers as she warns that the “struggle against a deadly extremist ideology” is likely to last for decades.

She is considering extending banning orders to groups with extreme ideology but which are not engaged in terrorist activities, and she wants new powers to target extremists who try to radicalise young men and women.

The Home Secretary revealed that she has prevented “more than 150 people", including “hate preachers”, from entering the UK because their behaviour is considered unacceptable.

“We must confront and defeat the extremist ideology that sanctions and encourages terrorist activity,” she wrote shortly after the murder of journalist James Foley by an apparently British member of Isis.

“We are in the middle of a generational struggle against a deadly extremist ideology. That ideology is based on a warped and nihilistic interpretation of Islam and it is far removed from the peaceful beliefs held by one billion Muslims worldwide.

“We will be engaged in this struggle for many years, probably decades. We must give ourselves all the legal powers we need to prevail.”

Ms May added in an article published in the Daily Telegraph: “The cowardly murder this week of James Foley, a man who was working to highlight the suffering of the Syrian people to the world, has demonstrated once again the very deadly threat we face from terrorism at home and abroad.

Among the measures taken against terrorism that she wants to strengthen is the Government’s Prevent strategy which is intended to stop people becoming involved with extremism and terror organisations. She plans to make involvement in Prevent a statutory obligation for all public bodies.

While making clear she believes fresh powers are needed to constrain and discourage extremism she also sought to deflect criticisms in recent days that the Government has failed to prevent radicalised Muslims travelling to Syria and other parts of the Middle East to fight alongside Isis and other groups.

She said 23 people planning to travel to Syria have had their passports withdrawn and 69 people this year have been arrested for offences related to terrorism in Syria, with 12 charged and four prosecuted successfully. In the Serious Crime Bill, she said, it will become a criminal offence to prepare and train for terrorism.

Ms May, citing the need to “do all that we can to stop radicalisation”, also said that hundreds of people have been offered support to help prevent them from “drifting into extremism and violence”. Such programmes have “made a very significant contribution to our national security,” she said.

While using legal powers to prevent terrorism and extremism she also said the Government is working to understand “what makes British citizens, born, raised and educated in this country, want to participate in terrorist activities”.