Let’s track extremists without being a surveillance society

When British tourists die, we glimpse the despair which is a daily reality in many parts of the Middle East and Africa.

Up to 30 British people have died in Tunisia, including a Sussex couple, Janet and John Stocker, who are still missing.

Nothing detracts from the anguish of their families here at home.  The lives of maimed or traumatised survivors and bereaved relatives will never be the same again.

Thankfully terrorist incidents affecting British people are unusual.

However, we should not be afraid to travel abroad.  We must not give in to fear.

In Kuwait, 27 worshippers died and 227 Muslims have been wounded as they prayed for mercy, safety and comfort.

For them, there is no escape from gunfire and growing regional instability.  For them, there is no flight home.

The intractable problem is how to protect the essential right of peaceful Muslims to worship; and stamp out distorted religious extremism that legitimises mass murder.

Unfortunately, armed terrorists will continue to recruit impressionable young people and others who feel out of place in Europe, from Mosques.

Imams must be vigilant and look after their young people.

There is widespread, global concern about militant, Islamic extremists who want to live in an Islamic state, a Caliphate.

It is very clear that Britain is a more progressive place because it is multicultural.

British security services will always track possible extremists but should not over react and spy on innocent British residents.  We must not become a surveillance society.

Parliament will decide if further powers are necessary to protect British residents and their independence.  This must include freedom from observation.

This article was first published in The Argus on Saturday 4th July.

Let’s track extremists without being a surveillance society.