BY MIKEY SMITH , DAVID HUGHES
The Government is waging a secret propaganda campaign aimed at preventing British Muslims from joining ISIS .
The Home Office defended the work of the Research, Information and Communications Unit (Ricu), challenging the “warped ideology” of IS which included activities carried out in secret away from “the media glare”.
It comes as David Cameron is set to reveal tough new laws to clamp down on extremists as details emerged about covert propaganda schemes to combat the lure of Islamic State in the UK.
The Prime Minister will announce new powers to ban organisations, gag individuals and close down premises used to “promote hatred”, in measures to be included in an Extremism Bill in the Queen’s Speech on May 18.
Downing Street refused to comment on the Extremism Bill, but The Times said it would extend vetting rules so employers will be told of known extremists to prevent them from working with children and other vulnerable groups or from carrying out roles in “sensitive areas”.
There are also plans to extend Ofcom’s powers to suspend broadcasts deemed to include “unacceptable extremist material”.
The newspaper also said Home Secretary Theresa May would shortly launch an independent review of how Sharia courts operated in Britain.
A Downing Street spokesman said: “We cannot comment on what may or may not be in the Queen’s Speech.”
The Guardian revealed details of some of the work carried out by Ricu to steer people away from radicalisation.
The organisation often conceals the Government’s role, the newspaper said, leading to claims it was “deeply deceptive”.
One initiative, which portrays itself as a campaign providing advice on how to raise funds for Syrian refugees , has had face-to-face conversations with thousands of students at university freshers’ fairs without any of them realising they were engaging with a government programme, the Guardian said.
The Help for Syria campaign has distributed leaflets to 760,000 homes without the recipients realising they were government communications.
Much of the work has been outsourced to a communications company, Breakthrough Media Network, which produced websites, leaflets and social media content with titles such as The Truth about Isis (IS).
Categories: Europe, ISIS, Islamophobia, The Muslim Times, UK
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