23:31  |  10 December 11
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Chamber of Debate

FREE SPEECH - Anjem Choudary


London, England (CNN) -- A controversial Muslim group planning to stage an anti-war march through a town that receives British war dead will be banned in the UK from Thursday.

British Home Secretary Alan Johnson prepared an order Tuesday proscribing Al-Muhajiroun, also known as Islam4UK.

"Proscription is a tough but necessary power to tackle terrorism and is not a course we take lightly," Johnson said in a statement.

Al-Muhajiroun is already banned under two other names in the Terrorism Act 2000 -- Al-Ghurabaa and The Saved Sect. Johnson said the ban would now also apply to "a number" of the other names the group goes by.

The proscription does not need approval by Parliament, because it is considered an amendment to the act, said the Home Office spokeswoman, who did not give her name in line with policy.

"We are clear that an organization should not be able to circumvent proscription by simply changing its name," Johnson said.

The ban would prevent Al-Muhajiroun from having meetings or raising money, and it would make attending a meeting or being a member of the group a crime.

The group's leader, controversial British Muslim cleric Anjem Choudary, had threatened to stage a march in the town of Wootton Bassett as a protest against the war in Afghanistan.

Choudary said Sunday, after news of Johnson's plans, that the Home Office could not shut him down.

"We're not going to stop because the government bans an organization," he told CNN by phone. "If that means setting up another platform under another label, then so be it."

A ban "will just make the use of those names ... illegal. But Muslims everywhere are obliged to work collectively to establish the Islamic state and sharia law in the UK or wherever they are -- those things can't change," he added.

The bodies of British war dead are traditionally brought to Wootton Bassett, near a Royal Air Force base, when they are returned to the country.

Relatives and friends line the streets of the town along with local residents as hearses carry the flag-draped British remains, in scenes of public mourning widely reported by British media.

Choudary's proposal to march empty coffins through the streets drew fury and outrage.

The Home Office had said the march would be illegal if the group were banned, but the decision to proscribe the group was not caused only by its plans for the march, the Home Office said.

Choudary has never announced a date for his march and area police said he had not contacted them about it, as march organizers are required to do beforehand.

The Terrorism Act 2000 gives the home secretary the power to ban groups if the punishment is "proportionate and based on evidence that a group is concerned in terrorism as defined in the Terrorism Act 2000," according to the Home Office.

According to the law, groups can be banned if they commit or participate in terrorism; prepare for terrorism; or promote or encourage terrorism. The home secretary can also take into account factors such as specific threats posed to the United Kingdom or British nationals overseas, and the extent of the group's presence in the United Kingdom.
Vote: Should Anjem Choudary's Muslim groups be banned?

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Members Comments

1in10 27-Apr-2010 0:48
Ultimately people like Choudary cannot be dealt with whilst this country is saddled with liberal democractic notions. They can only be dealt with by an openly non-democratic government. Banning this group and others like them will be an important step towards such a non-democratic future. Once the ban is accepted then further non-democratic methods can be introduced.
Andromeda 15-Mar-2010 8:34
I believe that Andrew Slade is not a council member and is no longer a member of the BNP. However, I have informed him of what you said and hope he will respond soon.

Would you like to quote what Andrew Slade in fact said about Wootton Bassett?

I have myself said that the BNP should be seen to be supporting Anjem Choudary as they were against the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan from the beginning.

That would have made a good news story. That the war is so opposed that the anti-war groups who hate each have united in solidarity to oppose this dishonourable and disgraceful war.

Anjem Choudary cannot be deported as he is a British Citizen and was born in Kent.
AlanHarvey 14-Mar-2010 22:55
Not only should Choudary and all his obnoxious Muslim fundamentalist groups be deported from the UK, bag and baggage, at the earliest opportunity, but Western forces must maintain a dominating presence in as many Muslim countries as possible in order to ensure that they do not return with their agenda of Jihad (death and destruction) against the West within our own nations. The EDL might well mount spirited opposition to the Muslim invasion of our British homeland, but not the so-called BNP I believe. One of the BNP's recent council candidates, a certain Andrew Slade, has openly stated that he would support the Muslim fundamentalists in their obscene proposed march through Wootton Bassett. Yet another example of the BNP's total PHONINESS!
andquietflowsthedon 13-Jan-2010 23:46
Public order issues could arise if the march actually took place. English Defence League, BNP etc would be up for a fight with radical Islamists. The police have powers to ban marches if they think serious rioting is likely. There is no need to ban the new party or stifle debate.
jeffreymarshall 13-Jan-2010 16:51
Agree with Moon's comment.

A 'UK Friends of Islam' group would be an excellent idea & would most likely attract a wide range of people, even those (like myself) who are utterly out of sympathy with the Islam4UK/al-Muhajiroun groups, but who nevertheless regard the Home Secretary's ban as outrageous & completely unnecessary.

I would suggest a name like 'Friends of Islam4UK' or 'Supporters of al-Muhajiroun'.

As many will know, anyone belonging to a group named either 'Islam4UK' or 'al-Muhajiroun' from Thursday 14th January 2010 may be imprisoned for a period of up to ten years.

It would be especially good if BNP members were to support the right of these groups to exist.

Alan Johnson, Home Secretary, made his feelings about the BNP known last October when he stated that the BBC should ban the Question Time broadcast.

He would probably ban the BNP if he could.

The ban impacts on free speech and the right to organise freely. Both these issues regularly affect the BNP.

Recently the government forced the party to adapt its membership policy, overturning the rights of free association.

An 'I am Spartactus' reaction to the ban on Islam4UK would work wonders now.

They can't imprison everyone who makes a stand... But wouldn't it be great if they tried?
LeeSouthend 13-Jan-2010 9:44
Although I disagree with banning Islam4UK I feel the country should expel Anjem Choudary and most of hes surporters due to there attempts to undermine the British way of life, Because of there non integration into our society, because of the tens of thousands paid to them in benefits. Anjem Choudary has been involved in groups before which have been banned and he just changes the name then continues where he left off surporting jihad.
moon 12-Jan-2010 20:20
The banning is an affront to civil liberty. I contacted Islam4UK earlier today;


I am a non-muslim , British, who sympathises with Islam4UK as a result of the banning debacle. I would like to reassure you that such blatant misuse of powers is unpopular amongst many UK non-muslims and that all genuine protest against such misuse is widely supported.

I hope that you will continue to air your legitimate grievances, as was the case in this morning's Radio 4 broadcast, and that you will find a way to circumvent this unfair victimisation.

I am sure that, should one exist, some form of ' UK Friends of Islam ' front would draw a great deal of support, not least because of the atrocious treatments inflicted upon those present in The Palestine March and Mr. Galloway's convoy personnel.

I look forward to hearing from you again via the mainstream media and I trust that you will take appropriate measures to ensure that your concerns are neither isolated nor silenced.


All comments are subject to approval.

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