Europe has always opposed Arab countries’ policies and did not agree with their strategy in confronting terrorism. Europe considers Arab countries’ measures in this regard in violation of individual and civil rights.
However, now that Europe has started suffering from the ills of terrorism, it has started to take similar security procedures and reconsider its human rights paradigms. This allows more coordination and cooperation with Gulf countries in the joint effort to fight terrorism.
Europe did not listen to Arab advice, and it always promoted the idea that differentiating the political party and the militia could encourage these groups to indulge more in the political process and give up their weapons. Now Europe is certain that the sole aim of these groups is to overthrow state powerSawsan Al Shaer
New British strategy
The new strategy presented by Sajid Javed, the first Muslim Home Secretary of Britain of Pakistani origin, to the House of Commons last week is similar to policies pursued by Arab countries in their fight against terrorism.
These are policies that Britain long opposed by calling them a violation of individual freedoms and civil rights, which expand security institutions’ jurisdictions to intensely monitor potential threats of terrorism, impose stricter punishment for terrorist crimes and review the classification of terrorist groups.
British Home Secretary Sajid Javed thus presented his ministry’s program to the House of Commons and included a new strategy to fight terrorism, which is different from the one presented to British Parliament in 2011. The new strategy tries to fill the earlier gaps which were exploited by terrorists and which European civil rights groups granted to residents as well as citizens.
For example, as a proactive way to prevent recruiting European youth, he will increase the jurisdictions of pre-censorship, which allows eavesdropping even on individuals who repeatedly watch terrorism videos and will make it an offence to repeatedly view streamed video content online.
Decoupling politics from militant wings
According to a statement by the home secretary’s office, he will also strengthen the sentencing framework for terrorism, including by increasing the maximum penalty for certain offences, to ensure that the punishment properly reflects the crime and to better prevent re-offending.
In addition, there are demands in Britain to reconsider previous evaluation of Muslim groups including the Muslim Brotherhood and not to differentiate between any “political” faction affiliated with the group and its armed militias, as Britain had done earlier.
ALSO READ: Jordan between friends and enemies
This is what Arab countries have been demanding for years, not to be dragged into the game of distributing roles among these Islamic groups’ factions and not to separate between Hezbollah’s political wing and armed wing or between the Houthis’ MPs and their militias.
However, Europe did not listen to Arab advice, and it always promoted the idea that differentiating the political party and the militia could encourage these groups to indulge more in the political process and give up their weapons. Now Europe is certain that the sole aim of these groups is to overthrow state power.
The British Home Secretary managed to pursue the expansion of these authorities which the House of Commons had not passed before because there is a change in the public mood now. This change allows passing this strategy after Europe suffered a lot from terrorism and after it realized that the right to collective security is a human value, which is not less than any individual right and it’s rather more important.
Granting asylum to criminals
The similarity between European security beliefs and ours in Arab countries paves the way to match classifications and precautionary measures. This all happened after terror threats worsened in Europe and got it to reconsider its evaluations. European countries always believed that whoever “fled” justice from an Arab country must be oppressed as his only crime must be demanding his human rights.
OPINION: Who can stop the Hodeidah offensive?
Europe thought that protecting such people reflected a human value which Europe upholds while our Arab countries do not. Europe even opened its doors to people wanted over security-related matters in Arab countries and later realized that many of these terrorist groups exploit the space it’s given them to attack the Europeans in their own homelands.
Europe thus abandoned these “values” and reconsidered the trade-off between them and the value of collective security after terrorism reached its countries. This is what we were also doing. Therefore, we need to benefit from these new convictions to restrict these groups by working together to eliminate terrorism in all its forms, classifications and wings that have provided logistical support for terrorism and which European civil rights movements have formed an umbrella to and provided with immunity.
This article is also available in Arabic.
Sawsan Al Shaer is a Bahraini writer and journalist. She tweets under the handle @sawsanalshaer.