Government Counter-extremism strategy – Church Leaders get set to respond
On Monday 9th November 2015 Church Leaders and key Church Workers gave a good account in responding to the NCLF Emergency (Briefing) Meeting on the governments counter extremism strategy. It was held at Emmanuel Centre, Marsham Street, London SW1P 3DW, just a stone's throw away from the Home Office.
The concerns revolve around the fact that the proposed government policy while justifiably countering extremism - particularly that found within extreme Islamists and Neo Nazis - they inadvertently affect Christians in the practice of their faith and beliefs.
Presentations by Christian Legal Centre & Christian Concern
The 200-strong audience that came from as far as Milton Keynes, Nottingham and Birmingham for the 2 hour meeting listened intently as Andrea Williams CEO of the Christian Legal Centre and Andrew Marsh, Campaign Director for Christian Concern gave a factual run-down of the critical construct of the strategy and the ramification it holds for faith and non-faith communities who could be caught in the ' extremism trap' under the proposed directives.
Andrea Williams repeated her already publicised statements on the 'flawed' nature of the strategy. She said, "The government's Counter-Extremism Strategy betrays a dangerous blindness to the Christian basis of 'British values' and a naivety about the nature of Islamic radicalisation.
"The government is right to recognise the danger that Islamic radicalisation poses to freedom but the government's response poses dangers of its own".
This was reinforced as Andrew Marsh took everyone present through a fourteen page briefing document that contained direct extracts from officially issued government publications, as well as public statements.
Also in attendance was Fiona Bruce MP, (pictured left), who has been one of a number of Parliamentarians to openly express deep unease about the government's plans. She encouraged attendees to contact their local MPs who are accountable to respond and relay the alarms of their constituency.
Feedback from the meeting was very positive. The Q & A session showed that people had grasped the gravity of the situation and were pleased of the steps taken staging the event. NCLF Co-Chairs, Ade Omooba and Dr David Muir both expressed their gratitude to the enlightened crowd and gave assurances that this meeting was just the start of a determined effort to ensure Christian leaders were well informed and to make the government realise the planned policy as it stands is unacceptable to our Church constituencies.
The meeting was closed in prayer by Apostle Alfred Williams.
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