A British-born father and his three sons have been exiled by Theresa May after they were all accused of being “Islamic Extremists” with ties to al-Qaeda.
This will represent the first family who have been collectively stripped of their citizenship by Mrs. May who took over this duty in 2010. The father has been quoted as saying that this decision is “tearing the family apart”. The reason that they have been stripped of their citizenship is that the daughter of this family has fled to Syria and is fighting with the Jihadists.
The father himself has even admitted this and has said that his son in law is a known jihadist, but he has categorically denied the accusation that he is connected with terrorists. The 51 year old father who was born in Newcastle was visiting Pakistan with his sons, all in their twenties, when they were all stripped of their citizenship under the British Nationality Act of 1981. His wife and fourth son, who is a disabled teenager, were not exiled but have not returned to Britain due to their desire to stay with the family.
The father has said, “We are innocent of all the allegations but our situation prevents us from answering the allegations” He also went on to say that, “We are British through and through. The best of British values don’t contradict Islamic values. To this day, English is the only language we speak. We as a family have been abandoned by the British [government] and this is tearing our family apart.”
The father again would deny the charge that he was involved with al-Queda or Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba, saying that this would be like being involved in “the Conservative and the Labour party.” He went so far as to call the charges “ridiculous”.
When speaking of his daughter he has admitted she’s living in Syria with her three children and her “abusive husband” who was treated “like a VIP” by the jihadists.
The family’s only recourse now is to appeal the decision by the Special Immigration Appeals Commission, who have already thrown out the case for their citizenship to be reinstated. A spokesperson for Liberty, the human rights foundation, have called this the first family of potentially many who are a victim of the “UK’s secret courts”.
In his judgment, Mr Justice Mitting acknowledged the impact on the private and family life of the wife and youngest son who both remain British citizens. He did however say the move was “justifiable” because of the “threat to national security”. The letter stated, “My decision has been taken in part reliance on information which, in my opinion, should not be made public in the interests of national security and because disclosure would be contrary to the public interest,”
Mrs May has said her decision was based on an assessment by MI5, the security service and the claims that they were linked to terrorist groups. A letter sent to the family in 2011 and signed by the Home Secretary said their citizenship would be revoked because “it would be conducive to the public good”. The Home Office statement said, “We cannot comment on individual cases. Since May 2010 there have been 27 people who have had their citizenship revoked and for the overwhelming majority this was because of terrorist activities.”
This case appears fairly clear cut in that there has been evidence provided by the Home Office as well as multiple security agencies. The fact that one man has said that the charge is ludicrous does not trump a potential terror threat which is being monitored by MI5, although the fact that this has come to light may lead to a better discussion of what these courts are doing. Unilateral removal of citizenship cannot be condoned but provided there is sufficient evidence then this could in fact be an effective law and strategy to discourage extremism.