AN organisation named during Michael Gove’s controversial statement on “extremism” has hit back – accusing the UK Government of “authoritarianism”.

Cage – which Gove said he had concerns about while stopping short of calling the group “extremist” – said on Thursday the Government was “exploiting fears against Muslims” by unveiling a new definition of extremism.

The group, along with the Muslim Association of Britain, Muslim Engagement and Development (Mend) and the far-right groups Patriotic Alternative and the British National Socialist Movement, were named by Gove as organisations about which the Government had concerns.

The UK Government now defines extremism as the promotion of ideologies “based on violence, hatred or intolerance” which aim to destroy the rights of others or to replace the “UK’s system of liberal parliamentary democracy”.

READ MORE: Michael Gove defends GB News owner over 'anti-Muslim' tweets

In a joint statement alongside nine other organisations including Sisters Uncut and Black Lives Matter, Cage said: “Collectively we will explore all avenues, including legal, to challenge the Government’s deep dive into authoritarianism.”

They accused the Government of seeking to “strengthen the state’s coercive powers without any pretence of due process or judicial oversight” and of creating a new category of “licensed dissenters” – or protesters and activists deemed acceptable by ministers.

They added: “The Government be held to account for aiding and abetting the Genocide in Gaza and weaponising ‘extremism’ to shield itself.”

The National: Michael Gove

Speaking in the Commons, Gove (above) said the Government was “in no way intending to restrict freedom of expression, religion or belief”.

But he added that ministers “cannot be in a position where, unwittingly or not, we sponsor, subsidise or support in any way organisations [or] individuals opposed to the freedoms we hold dear”.

READ MORE: Pro-Palestine groups accuse UK Government of 'Islamophobia' in extremism row

The new guidelines on extremism will prevent organisations the Government deems to be extremist from receiving state funds and from interacting the Government.

Cage is an Islamic non-governmental organisation set up in response to the “war on terror”. It has supported people accused of terrorism offences and has evolved into campaigning against “law abuses” resulting from Britain’s counter-terrorism strategy.

It has attracted controversy in the past through its support for people detained under anti-terrorism laws.

The organisation came in for criticism in 2015 when Asim Qureshi, Cage’s research director, blamed the British authorities for the radicalisation of Daesh militant Mohammed Emwazi – better known as Jihadi John.