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Internet enabling extremists to spread their ideology at faster pace: UK minister

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Williams, the UK's for Countering Extremism, today said the world faced unprecedent threat from extremists and that the Internet was enabling them to spread their ideologies and gave them access into every family.

Britain will "act decisively" to disrupt extremist activity where its legal thresholds are broken and where individuals cross the line by inciting hatred or violence, she said.

She, however, noted that the UK did not consider and terrorism as the same thing.

"Of course, extremists use narratives to tragically radicalise young Britons to join terrorist groups like Daesh (ISIS). But radicalisation into terrorism is not the only harm of extremism," she said.

Williams was delivering an address at an (ORF) conference on "Tackling Insurgent Ideologies".

She said extremists also use their "twisted narratives" to justify hatred and division, spread intolerance, isolate communities and erode the rights of women and minorities.

"The threat we face from extremists is unprecedented. The Internet is enabling them to spread their ideologies at a pace and scale never seen before. It also gives them access into every family home," she said.

While defining extremism, she termed it as the vocal and active opposition to the UK's fundamental values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and the mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs.

Noting that countering was complex, she said it was necessary to balance the rights of individuals to practice a faith, or their right to have free speech.

Citing the instance of Scottish nationalism, she said that "law abiding campaigning and nationalism is acceptable in our democracy".

A referendum on Scottish independence from the that was carried out in 2014, saw an over-whelming majority rejecting it.

Elaborating on the UK's counter-strategy, she said her country's approach is based on four pillars, which includes vigorously countering extremist ideology, actively supporting mainstream voices, disrupting the most harmful extremists and building more cohesive communities.

"Let me be clear, this is not about limiting free speech or about enforcing British values overseas. This strategy is about ensuring that individuals' freedoms, such as the right of women, or minorities, to take a full part in society, are protected," she said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, June 12 2018. 16:40 IST