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the war on terrorism is more than a war or public emergency threatening the life of the nation, and in many ways can be seen to be a clash of civilisations

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Introduction

Law 101 Coursework Three (Public Law) Samuel Huntington1 has been warning against a 'clash of civilisations' for more than a decade and now there seems to have been one, seen most influentially with the twin towers attacks and the London bombings. There has been a knee jerk reaction to attacks such as these by western countries, for example the USA Patriot Act in America. The Patriot Act remains highly disputed2, but America was unified behind their president at the time of proposal and anything he could be seen to do to stop terrorism was embraced. A similar view was taken in the UK and the Anti terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 was enacted. This act takes a great deal from civil liberties and freedoms, and allows powers contrary to article 5 of the Human Rights Act 1998. A quote taken from the liberty website states that 'Anti Terrorism measures have done little to ensure that Britain is safe and secure from terrorist attack, but much to infringe the civil liberties of those living in the UK'3 and I think this view would be the consensus of the common man if he were told of the possibilities this act permits, for example Lord Hoffman tells us that any man could be detained ...read more.

Middle

Lord Hoffman declares in A and Others (2004) that 'it is for Parliament to decide whether to give the terrorists such a victory', and by giving powers such as these given under the Anti terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 parliament are doing this. Instead of trying to find the reasons behind terrorism, the government is trying its hardest to stop it. The best method of preventing terrorism would be to first understand why we are the victims of terrorism. Could the source of terrorist attacks be the unfounded, highly controversial war in Iraq? The UK had to derogate in relation to the Anti terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001. The general rule is that where a State decides there is a need for derogation, the courts must not only be convinced of the need for derogation, but also that the derogation was proportionate to the need by not eliminating more individual rights than necessary. In removing the right to freedom by increasing pre trial detention indefinitely it could be said that parliament have acted incompatibly with Human Rights Act 1998 and have reacted too strongly to the terrorist actions, removing more rights than necessary. ...read more.

Conclusion

To try and do so would hand the terrorists a victory beyond their dreams.' The UK, by derogating from the Human Rights Act 1998 has done just this; given the terrorists a small victory. To work with the countries the terrorists originate from and work toward making the world a better place may also give them a victory, but of a different kind. Terrorism aims to disrupt to prove a political or ideological point, but if that point were to become obsolete, the terrorist organisation would also become obsolete, and the occurrence of countries harbouring terrorists would reduce greatly. In conclusion, I think Lord Hoffman's view, that the war on terrorism is more than a war or public emergency threatening the life of the nation, and in many ways can be seen to be a clash of civilisations. In fighting this 'war' on terror we must however be sure not to disrupt our own beliefs and system of values, and act as humanitarian as possible. If we work together with the countries, Europe as a whole can come through this 'war' relatively unscathed. We must remember to tone down the more radical action being taken recently however, as incidents like the Charles de Menezes shooting show. ...read more.

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