News / Middle East

    Britain May Strip Suspected Islamist Fighters of Passports

    Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron (C) walks to Parliament after leaving Number 10 Downing Street in London Sep. 1, 2014.
    Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron (C) walks to Parliament after leaving Number 10 Downing Street in London Sep. 1, 2014.
    Reuters

    Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday announced plans to strip suspected Islamist militants of their passports temporarily, to combat the threat posed by radicalized Britons returning from Syria and Iraq.

    The proposals come days after Cameron raised Britain's terrorism alert to its second-highest level, saying the Islamic State group  in Syria and Iraq posed the country's greatest-ever security risk.

    A video released last month by the Islamic State militants, purporting to show a man with a London accent man beheading a U.S. journalist, led to concern that Britons fighting in the region could return and launch attacks on British soil.

    “We have all been shocked and sickened by the barbarism we have witnessed in Iraq this summer,” Cameron told parliament.

    “There are two key areas where we need to strengthen our powers to fill specific gaps in our armory. These are around preventing suspects from traveling and dealing decisively with those already here who pose a risk.”

    Cameron said he would bring in new “specific and targeted legislation” to give the police powers to temporarily seize a suspect's passport at the border to give authorities time to investigate them. Currently only Britain's interior minister has the power to withdraw a passport.

    He also said the government would consult on a discretionary power to prevent Britons from returning home if they have pledged allegiance to extremist causes. This would extend existing powers which can only be applied to foreign nationals, naturalized citizens and those with dual nationalities.

    Civil liberties

    The package of measures has been subject to protracted negotiations within the two-party coalition government, with the junior partner Liberal Democrat party wary of bringing in new laws that could limit civil liberties.

    Lawmakers immediately questioned the legality of some of the proposals. The government's former top lawyer, Dominic Grieve, said he was concerned that British nationals could be prevented from returning to the country.

    “Not only does it offend principles of international law, it actually would offend basic principles of our own common law as well,” Grieve said.

    In response Cameron said the current system of prosecuting returning extremists worked, but that it was important to address any weaknesses in it.

    The government also said it intended to give police the ability to restrict where people based in Britain who are under investigation can live. Airlines would be legally bound to provide details of passenger lists to authorities, strengthening existing border procedures, he said.  

    You May Like

    Multimedia Obama Calls on Americans to Help the Families of Its War Dead

    In last Memorial Day of his presidency, Obama lays wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery

    The Strife of the Party: Will Trump Permanently Alter Republicans?

    While billionaire mogul's no-holds-barred style, high-energy delivery are what rocketed him to nomination, they also have created rift between party elites and his supporters

    China's Education Reforms Spark Protest

    Beijing is putting a quota system in place to increase the number of students from poor regions attending universities

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Sebastian from: Scotland
    September 02, 2014 5:44 AM
    these are but feeble measures... they only seem "courageous" in a context of US incompetence and European fear and confusion.
    In Response

    by: mhb from: Netherlands
    September 02, 2014 6:19 AM
    Excellent point Seb,
    First, Congratulations on your Scottish independence. A decision way past due. Second, you are so right to describe Europe's confusion and fear in the face of Islamic invasion. This is such a disaster with grave implications - "Multiculturalism" is a disaster that will end in bloodshed - we see what is happening in the Middle East and we know its coming here.

    by: peergin from: Switzerland
    September 01, 2014 3:10 PM
    It is WRONG to try and prevent jihadists from leaving the country for the Middle East. Let them go but don't let them back in (assuming that they survive). It is an easy and very cheap way of getting permanently rid of them! Good riddance!

    by: tony from: Canada
    September 01, 2014 2:38 PM
    Not only should their passports be revoked, their right to live in a civilized should also be denied. The likes of Anjem Chowdury who has been invoking the call to sharia in the UK should be turfed. Canada, the US, et al should all adopt that attitude. It is not a right to be allowed to immigrate but rather a privilege

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conferencei
    X
    Serginho Roosblad
    May 30, 2016 5:11 PM
    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conference

    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video US Military's Fallen Honored With Flags

    Memorial Day is a long weekend for most Americans. For some, it is the unofficial start of summer -- local swimming pools open and outdoor grilling season begins. But Memorial Day remains true to its origins -- a day to remember the U.S. military's fallen.
    Video

    Video Rolling Thunder Rolls Into Washington

    The Rolling Thunder caravan of motorcycles rolled into Washington Sunday, to support the U.S. military on the country's Memorial Day weekend
    Video

    Video A New Reading Program Pairs Kids with Dogs

    Dogs, it is said, are man's best friend. What some researchers have discovered is that they can also be a friend to a struggling reader. A group called Intermountain Therapy Animals trains dogs to help all kinds of kids with reading problems — from those with special needs to those for whom English is a second language. Faiza Elmasry has more on the New York chapter of R.E.A.D., or Reading Education Assistance Dogs, in this piece narrated by Faith Lapidus.
    Video

    Video Fan Base Grows for Fictional Wyoming Sheriff Longmire

    Around the world, the most enduring symbol of the U.S. is that of the cowboy. A very small percentage of Americans live in Western rural areas, and fewer still are cowboys. But the fascination with the American West is kept alive by such cultural offerings as “Longmire,” a series of books and TV episodes about a fictional Wyoming sheriff. VOA’s Greg Flakus recently spoke with Longmire’s creator, Craig Johnson, and filed this report from Houston.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora