A special advisor appointed to work with the Independent Reviewer of Terror Legislation, says it is critical that nations are not seen to ‘overreact’ to the threat posed by terror attacks.
Hashi Mohamed, a barrister with No5 Chambers, is one of three special advisors employed by David Anderson QC after extra funding was made available. Mr Anderson has held the position since 2011 but has announced that he is to stand down in February next year.
Hashi Mohamed, a London based barrister with No5, was called to the Bar in 2010.
He said: “The role of the independent reviewer has gained a higher profile in public recently and arguably provides a critical constitutional role which assists both the public and Parliament to understand better terror legislation.
“At a time when we have seen the horrific attacks in Paris and Brussels in the space of a year, the public mood is quite understandably a nervous one, and politicians must be seen to be acting to protect citizens.
“The reviewer’s role therefore becomes even more important when it comes to ensuring that terror related legislation is not passed quickly or without due scrutiny. The way he contributes to our national discourse is through regular reports that are prepared for the Home Secretary and Treasury and then laid before Parliament, in evidence to parliamentary committees, in articles and speeches as well as media interviews.
“In my judgement, at a highly sensitive moment in time during which it is critical that nations are not seen to overreact to the clearly posed threat, the independent reviewer’s office brings with it some clarity and distance from central government.
“Terror by definition seeks to put fear in citizens and law-makers can be at risk of rushing to legislate as a reaction, thereby potentially leading to poorly drafted and not properly understood laws. How we respond as a society, how our institutions react and how our citizens respond to this threat is a subject of great interest to me.”
Previously, when judged against European neighbours, Hashi argued that the UK has reacted relatively better as a nation.
“Admittedly the atrocities committed in Paris and Brussels are not directly comparable, but I am convinced that how we react to these awful moments is critical to understanding who we are as a nation, especially at our darkest hour.”
Following last year’s Charlie Hebdo attack but before the November Paris attacks, Hashi gave a lecture that was broadcast on Radio 4 assessing the public’s reaction to the murder of Lee Rigby. In it he said that a measured but robust response had done more to diminish the aims of terrorists than any heavy handed response would have done.
“In my new role as a Special Adviser, it is a privilege to be assisting the independent reviewer in this critical endeavour. I am of the firm belief that the fabric of our society, our cohesion in our diversity and our future as a nation depends in part on his work and ongoing valiant efforts.”
No5 Chambers is one of the UK’s largest sets of barristers’ chambers with its head office in Birmingham and further offices in London, Bristol and East Midlands. It has more than 240 members including 33 Queens Counsel.