In today’s blogpost we shall examine the recent decision by a court to overturn the Home Office’s decision to deny naturalisation to the dependents of an Egyptian national with previous links to Al-Qaeda.
The judge ruled that the Home Office had acted illegally in attempting to use the right of naturalisation as a deterrent to other terrorists. The family members’ original applications for naturalisation were denied in 2014 and they received a letter that stated that any extremist activity could affect the applications of family members applying for naturalisation. Previously, the father had been described by the Home Office as an Islamic extremist and by the UN as associated with Al-Qaeda through Egyptian Islamic jihad.
The defendant for the Home Office said that British Citizenship was a privilege not a right and that it was not irrational to deny those connected by blood or marriage to terrorists. The barrister for the family told the court that the family members were of outstanding character and should not be punished for the sins of their father who, subsequently, the Home Office admitted no longer represented a threat.
This ruling is important because it sets an important precedent that naturalisation is a right and not privilege that can be dictated by the Home Office. With an ever increasing climate of fear related to terrorism and the opinion that civil liberties are being eroded through increased security measures and over reaching government policies, the decision has been welcomed by many. Whilst the decision has been disputed, it remains important to functioning state apparatus of justice to work within their existing remits. Part of the strengths of a democratic society is to remain democratic under the pressure of external forces that attempt to undermine said processes.
However, others have been less supportive of the court’s decision citing that the man in question, who the UK previously have tried to deport, represents a potential threat to the UK and other nations.
Do you agree with the decision of the judge? Or do you believe that in exceptional circumstances naturalisation should be denied? As always, let us know your thoughts by commenting below.