Imams in the UK will be encouraged to preach in English as part of plans to crack down on hate preaching in the country. Britain’s counter-extremism taskforce is working on the plans amid concern that preaching in foreign languages enforces divisions between Islam and mainstream British society and can foster radicalisation, according to The Sunday Telegraph. “If imams are speaking in another language it makes it far harder to know if radicalisation is taking place,” a government source told the newspaper.
The plans form part of the UK government’s Prevent anti-extremism initiative, which will also be given a big increase in spending and staff. The number of people working on the programme will double by 2020 as part of a revamped anti-terrorism and extremism strategy, known as Contest, to be announced by next week.
Meanwhile, The Sunday Times reports the expansion of Prevent will go alongside a tougher approach to returnees from Islamic State (ISIS), with measures to exclude British citizens permanently from the UK. More than 30 dual nationals have been stripped of their British citizenship but the new drive could mean that many who hold only British passports are made stateless.
Ministers can cancel the citizenship of single-nationality Britons, if they were previously citizens of another country, and “temporarily exclude” British-born citizens from returning to the UK. However, these powers have been used “rarely, if at all”, according to a recent report by the then reviewer of counter-terrorist legislation, David Anderson.
About 850 Britons are thought to have travelled to ISIS territory. The UK Home Office said the strategy would be published “shortly” but refused to comment on what it called “speculation”.