During the 21st century, the government has repeatedly attempted to make it a crime to believe certain things. New laws have crossed a line that for 400 years was cherished in British society. George Orwell warned of the ‘thought police’ in his dystopian novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four. According to Glasgow-based solicitor, Aimar Anwar
people can now be convicted of thought crime. "We are now prosecuting people in this country for what they think, not actually what they’ve done or what they’re about to do".
Following a decades of terrorism legislation, people can be imprisoned in Britain for ‘inspiring’ others to commit acts of terrorism, even if they did not intend of know that they might react in that way. New legislation goes even further; it would widen the definition of ‘extremists’ to those who hold views that clash with what the government defines as ‘British values’. People would be liable for prosecution if:
• They believe in Sharia law.
• They believe in jihad, or armed resistance, anywhere in the world. This would include resistance by Palestinians against the Israeli military.
• They fail to condemn the killing of British soldiers in Iraq or Afghanistan.
So where does this leave ‘freedom’ of religion and speech in Britain?
Director: Kai Lawrence
Executive Producer: Phil Rees