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Groups accused of 'extremism' hit back at Michael Gove and say re-assessment 'will motivate us'

Two groups set to be re-assessed under the government's new definition of extremism have hit back at Michael Gove – with one saying the minister's latest move will only bolster their organisation.

Speaking in the Commons on Thursday, the communities secretary named two far-right organisations and three Islamist groups as ones "we should be concerned about".

They will now be assessed against the new definition and if it's deemed they are extremist, their members will be banned from meeting ministers or elected public officials, and the groups will be unable to receive public money.

One of the organisations named as giving "rise to concern for their Islamist orientation and views" was CAGE International.

Their spokesperson told Sky News he believes CAGE will see "a lot of unity off the back of this [announcement]" and claimed: "I genuinely think that Michael Gove is going to end up being our biggest fundraiser this Ramadan."

Cerie Bullivant said the threat of losing access to public money isn't a worry, as the group has never received it.

He said: "We haven't had any government money, ever. We're supported by our community, by the grassroots and by people who care about justice.

"We have never sought, and would never ask for, government money."

Mr Bullivant said organisations such as Black Lives Matter and feminist campaigners Sisters Uncut have sent their "support".

CAGE has vowed to "keep speaking out and working to our goals regardless" of Mr Gove's comment, he added.

A spokesperson for the Muslim Association of Britain, another of the named groups, said the funding threat "won't make any difference" to them either.

Yasmine Adam told Sky News: "We don't take any money from the government.

"We won't be changing any of our stances and we won't be changing any of our activity and action.

"We just see this as another bump in the road but if anything, this will motivate us to continue calling out the government. It will only motivate us to continue going on."

Read more from Sky:
Government's new extremism definition explained
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She also attacked Mr Gove for using parliamentary privilege to name the groups in the Commons, which essentially prevents them from suing him.

"We challenge Mr Gove and say if he has any shred of evidence for any of his claims, he wouldn't be hiding behind parliamentary privilege," Ms Adams said. "And we'd be more than happy to challenge it legally."

In the coming weeks, the government is expected to publish a list of groups officially covered by the new definition.

Extremism is now described as "the promotion or advancement of an ideology based on violence, hatred or intolerance" that aims to "negate or destroy the fundamental rights and freedoms of others", or "undermine, overturn or replace the UK's system of liberal parliamentary democracy and democratic rights".

It also includes those who "intentionally create a permissive environment for others to achieve" either of those aims.

The 2011 definition described extremism as "vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and belief" as well as "calls for the death of members of our armed forces".