New report finds British Muslims reduced to ‘second-class’ as racist citizenship removal powers introduced
image by Rex Features/Independent
Institute of Race Relations, a London-based thinktank, has released a report that says the powers that allowed citizenship to be removed without notice led to the creation of a lesser form of citizenship.
This citizen-stripping power, introduced in the UK in 2002, affects mainly the Muslim community in Britain putting them in the category of “second-class citizenship”.
Despite the government claiming that the power of stripping people of their citizenship is exercised against those who pose grave threats to national security, or who commit abhorrent crimes, the report argues that the ambiguous criteria for doing so increased the likelihood of discriminatory decisions without much of a reasonable basis.
According to the report, both Labour and Conservative governments have given ministers wider powers to revoke the citizenship of those with access to another citizenship which constitute mainly ethnic minorities.
It mentioned that the then home secretary Theresa May on December 2013 had asserted “British citizenship is a privilege, not a right” while asserting that she had revoked the British citizenship of 20 jihadists that year.
“The statement, repeated by successive Home Office ministers, is directed at Muslims, not at the British population as a whole, and is understood as such,” the report titled, ‘Citizenship: From Right to Privilege’, said.
It also revealed that “British Muslims of South Asian heritage” were mostly targeted, which has come after reports claimed that Shamima Begum was allegedly smuggled into Syria when she was a school girl and in the wake of the Nationality and Borders Act introduced by former Home Secretary Priti Patel this year.
Institute vice chair Frances Webber who is the author of the report wrote, “The message sent by the legislation on deprivation of citizenship since 2002 and its implementation largely against British Muslims of south Asian heritage is that, despite their passports, these people are not and can never be ‘true’ citizens, in the same way, that ‘natives’ are.” “While a ‘native’ British citizen, who has access to no other citizenship, can commit the most heinous crimes without jeopardising his right to remain British, none of the estimated 6 million British citizens with access to another citizenship can feel confident in the perpetual nature of their citizenship,” he added.