Citizenship of British Muslims reduced to ‘second class’ status, thinktank says | Islam

British Muslims have had their citizenship reduced to “second class” status as a result of recently expanded powers to strip people of their nationality, a think tank has claimed.

The Institute of Race Relations (IRR) says the targets of such forces are almost exclusively Muslims, mostly of South Asian heritage, embedding discrimination and creating a lesser form of citizenship.

The IRR’s report was published on Sunday amid renewed controversy over the case of Shamima Begum, who was smuggled into the hands of Islamic State at the age of 15, and in the wake of the Nationality and Borders Act – which allowed citizenship to be stripped without to notify the matter. , proceeding to the statute books.

Frances Webber, vice-president of the IRR and author of the report, wrote: “The message sent by the deprivation of citizenship legislation since 2002 and its application largely against British Muslims of South Asian heritage is that, despite passports them, these people are not and may never be “true” citizens, in the same way that “natives” are.

“While a ‘native’ British citizen, with no access to another nationality, can commit the most heinous crimes without compromising his right to remain British, none of the estimated 6 million British citizens with access to another nationality can he feels sure of the eternal nature of their citizenship.’

Weber said that before it was used against Muslim preacher Abu Hamza in 2003, no deprivation of citizenship had been allowed for 30 years. But since then there have been at least 217, with 104 removals in 2017 after the collapse of Islamic State in Syria.

Despite the government’s claims that the powers are only used against those who pose a serious threat to national security or who have committed heinous crimes, the report ‘Citizenship: from rights to privileges’ argues that the result is that some people have a ‘second category, disposable, eventual citizenship’.

Webber said: “These citizenship classes were introduced to target British Muslims of south Asia and the Middle East. Such divisions act as a constant reminder to minority citizens to watch their step and reinforce racist messages about ‘unworthy’ racial groups who do not deserve to be British.”

The report describes the criteria for stripping citizenship as “nebulous and ill-defined” and warns of the risk of using it for political purposes, with Weber pointing to Begum’s case as an example. It was recently claimed that Begum was taken to Syria by a spy working for Canadian intelligence.

“It considers the question: was Begum’s citizenship stripped to distract from Western agencies’ prioritization of intelligence gathering over the protection of vulnerable trafficked girls?” Webber said.

Citing the counter-terrorism programme, which has come under allegations of cover-up for spying on Muslim communities, the report says the removal of citizenship is “just one aspect of measures targeting Muslim communities, in Britain and abroad, in recent years two decades, which helped turn British Muslims in the UK into a ‘suspicious community”.

The latest change to the powers to remove citizens in the Nationality and Borders Act has increased public awareness – and criticism – of the existing rules as well as the additions, prompting public protests, opposition from campaigners as well as some MPs and Lords.

The Home Office said the legislation did not target ethnic minorities or people of particular religions and that the test for deprivation was clearly defined.

A spokesman said: “Our priority is to ensure the safety and security of the UK. Deprivation of citizenship is done only after a careful examination of the facts and in accordance with international law. It is used against those who obtained citizenship by fraud and against the most dangerous people, such as terrorists, extremists and serious organized criminals.

“We make no apologies for doing what is necessary to protect the UK from those who pose a threat to our security.”

Leave a Comment