On the 24th November Home Secretary Theresa May announced new legislation aimed at protecting the United Kingdom against terrorism.

IMG_0357The assumption is that British jihadists who have been fighting with IS in Syria or Iraq will return to the UK and carry out similar brutal acts on the streets of London or Liverpool.

The Government believes that the best way to avoid this is to ‘give the authorities greater powers to disrupt and control the movements of people who want to travel abroad to fight’.

In practical terms this means the authorities ‘will have the power to seize somebody’s travel documents, which includes tickets as well as passports, at the border for up to thirty days if they have reasonable suspicion that a person plans to leave the UK for the purpose of engaging in terrorism-related activities’.

The new Bill will also control ‘the return of those suspected of terrorism-related activity abroad’ through the cancellation of travel documents.

Several questions immediately come to mind:

It seems to me, that in the words of George W Bush, there are too many ‘unknown unknowns’. And while what appears as punitive legislation is put in place there is a potential danger that innocent people will be caught up in the bureaucratic web and a real danger of the continuing alienation of the Muslim community.

It is worth remembering that we have a General Election coming up next year. Could this have an influence on this particular government policy?