Speech on the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill (2nd Day of Report Stage) 4 Feb 2015

My Lords, as somebody who has been deputy leader of Luton Borough Council, I support my colleague’s amendment. Luton has been in the media because of its extremists, and we do have a small number of people who hold extreme views. Nevertheless, it is on record that out of the 22—or now perhaps 24—mosques in the town, none of them allows those few extremists to use its platforms to spread their messages. Some of them have worked with ex-offenders and those who might have been involved in other activities.

Might I give an example of how this is going to affect them? One of the imams of those mosques, whom I knew very well, was working on a project with ex-offenders. It was a successful, well recognised piece of work that he had been involved with for years. He had worked with internationally recognised charities in Syria. Recently, when he gave in his passport to be renewed, the passport was held. We do not know the reasons; he has approached me and said, “Can you help me?”. He has tried to speak to the Passport Office; he spoke to the crime commissioner and his local Member of Parliament, but he is not getting anywhere. He said to me, “Lord Hussain, if I have done something wrong, just tell me that I have done something wrong. If it is wrong for me to go to work with a charity in Syria, I will not go to work with those charities in Syria, much as I would like to. But I don’t think I have done anything wrong”.

We have to give proper training to our staff in order to carry out these laws. Experience shows what went on when we tried to implement stop and search, a piece of legislation that the police actually admitted that they were not sufficiently trained to carry out. My fear is that we are going to alienate communities if we do not accept the amendments, which I support.

From Hansard

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