British Terrorism Act

British Terrorism Act

In July, 2000, the British Parliament passed the Terrorism Act, a lengthy piece of legislation that criminalized a number of activities associated with groups tied to terrorism. The act initially prescribed 14 groups, most of whom were involved in Northern Ireland's sectarian conflict. In March, 2001, Parliament passed an amendment to the act, listing 21 other organizations, of which most had a Middle Eastern base.

The British Terrorism Act is an example of the fact that, and while the United Kingdom and the United States have much in common politically, the British government reserves the right to exert far greater authority over freedom of speech than Washington. Whereas the Terrorism Act makes it illegal to possess certain written materials, in America, books on bomb-making and subversion are legal.

The Terrorism Act reformed or repealed earlier measures, including the Prevention of Terrorism Act of 1989, the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act of 1996, and the Criminal Justice (Terrorism and Conspiracy) Act of 1998. It defined terrorism, listed proscribed organizations, established government powers against proscribed groups, provided for offenses relating to fund-raising for terrorists, gave the police authority to investigate terrorist groups, and criminalized a number of offenses, including the possession of information for terrorist purposes.

Within two weeks of the September, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States, British authorities arrested four men under the British Terrorism Act. Among them was Sulayman Balal Zainulabidin, a 43-year-old cook. Another, Loifti Raissi, was wanted in Arizona on misdemeanor charges relating to his application for a pilot's license, but was thought to have been involved in training four of the terrorists involved in the September 11 attacks.



Jackman, Tom. "Terror Suspect Allowed to Seek Foreign Aid." Washington Post. (July 18, 2002): B2.

Milbank, Dana, and T. R. Reid. "New Global Threat Revives Old Alliance." Washington Post. (October 16, 2001): A10.


London Man Charged Under British Terrorism Act. Cable News Network. < > (April 7, 2003).

Terrorism Act 2000. Her Majesty's Stationery Office. < > (April 7, 2003).


MI6 (British Secret Intelligence Service)
Official Secrets Act, United Kingdom
September 11 Terrorist Attacks on the United States
United Kingdom, Counter-Terrorism Policy
United Kingdom, Intelligence and Security

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