HC Deb 18 December 2001 vol 377 cc235-7W
Mr. Rosindell

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on plans to integrate(a) cultural exchanges with the Islamic world and (b) the Barcelona Process into the fight against terrorism. [22884]

Peter Hain

I have been asked to reply.

We are working closely with the British Council, which is designated as our cultural arm overseas. The council has developed a programme called "Open Minds", with proposals to build mutual understanding between young people of different cultures. These include school links and other youth exchanges, and networking between young professionals, future leaders and journalists. The project will focus initially on ten countries with large Muslim populations (Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestinian Territories, Saudi Arabia and Turkey). It will also involve Muslim communities in the UK.

At the most recent Ministerial Meeting of the Barcelona Process, on 5–6 November, Ministers reiterated their condemnation of the terrorist attacks committed in the United States on 11 September. They underlined the importance of the Barcelona Process as an instrument for promoting a dialogue of equals between cultures and civilisations. Ministers agreed to work on deepening the existing dialogue between cultures and civilisations, focusing on youth, education and the media.

Lynne Jones

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the willingness of terrorists to commit suicidal acts to inflict substantial loss of life was taken into account in the drafting of the Terrorism Act 2000. [19776]

Mr. Blunkett

Such acts are covered by the definition of terrorism in Part One of the Terrorism Act 2000. Following the attacks of September 11 we decided to take stock and review our laws to see where they might need further strengthening. The Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Bill contains proportionate and targeted measures which will ensure and safeguard our way of life against those who would take our freedom away. The Bill takes account of the threat from those helping to organise, fund or facilitate global terrorist acts, including the structures and systems needed by those prepared to undertake suicide attacks.