British Muslims made ‘second-class citizens’ after govt citizenship powers: Report

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LONDON – Muslims in the United Kingdom are being treated as “second-class citizens” as a result of the government’s ability to revoke citizenship without notice, according to a new investigation.

The paper, released on Sunday by the Institute of Race Relations, says that the Nationality and Borders Act has been exploited to target British Muslims.

“Despite their passports, these people are not and can never be ‘genuine’ citizens, in the same way that ‘natives’ are,” stated Frances Webber, vice chair and report author.

“While a ‘native’ British citizen can commit the most heinous crimes without risking his ability to remain British, none of the estimated 6 million British citizens having access to another citizenship can be sure in the perpetual nature of their citizenship.”

Webber noted that before 2003, when deprivation of citizenship was invoked against preacher Abu Hamza, the tactic had not been used in 30 years.

However, since the Hamza case, there have been at least 217 cases of citizenship deprivation, with the number increasing considerably following Daesh’s defeat.

“These citizenship workshops were introduced to target British Muslims of South Asian and Middle Eastern origin,” Webber explained.

“Such distinctions serve as a continual reminder to minority ethnic individuals that they must tread carefully, and promote racist notions about ‘undeserving’ racialized groups unworthy of British citizenship.”

The report’s author used the example of Shamima Begum to condemn the government’s “nebulous and unclear” powers.

The UK government has lately come under fire when it was revealed that a Canadian spy transported Begum into Syria.

“It raises the question: Was Begum’s citizenship stripped to divert attention away from Western agencies’ prioritizing of information gathering above protecting vulnerable trafficking girls?” Webber asked.

Citizenship deprivation is “only one component of policies targeting Muslim communities, in Britain and abroad, over the last two decades, which have contributed to turning British Muslims in the UK into a ‘suspicious community.'”

“Our goal is to guarantee the safety and security of the UK,” a Home Office official stated. Citizenship is revoked only after thorough evaluation of the facts and in conformity with international law.

“It is employed against those who have obtained citizenship by deception, as well as against the most dangerous individuals, such as terrorists, extremists, and severe organized criminals.”

“We make no apologies for doing whatever is necessary to safeguard the United Kingdom from people who constitute a security threat.”

Source: Arab News

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