Skip to comments.Extremists Face Fresh Wave Of Expulsions (UK)
Posted on 08/15/2005 5:36:50 PM PDT by blam
Extremists face fresh wave of expulsions
By Philip Johnston, Home Affairs Editor
Charles Clarke yesterday signalled a fresh wave of expulsions and exclusions of extremist Islamists once the Government has concluded its review of the law later this month.
The Home Secretary visited Scotland Yard for a briefing on the terrorism threat and issued a warning that another strike in London could not be ruled out.
"We remain worried," Mr Clarke said, though he conceded that there was no specific intelligence about the existence of a third cell of bombers. "It would be ridiculous to assume a further attack could not take place.''
The Government is considering a package of far-reaching measures aimed at banning extremist preachers from Britain. It has indicated a readiness to renounce parts of the European convention on human rights if judges continue to block the deportation of Islamic extremists.
Last week, Omar Bakri Mohammed, the radical cleric, was barred from re-entering Britain after he left for a holiday in Lebanon. Immigration officers also arrested Abu Qatada, another fundamentalist imam, and 10 other foreign terrorist suspects pending their deportation.
Mr Clarke said he had acted against Bakri now rather than earlier because his absence from the country meant that the situation had changed and he could be prevented from returning. The Government is considering a range of "unacceptable behaviours" that could attract similar treatment and is due to complete a consultation process on Friday.
Mr Clarke said: "We will be looking at further steps that need to be taken to ensure that people who are working against the interests of this country are properly dealt with."
He said ministers were in continuing discussions with the Muslim community about how best to "isolate" extremists who encouraged terrorism. However, there is growing concern among ''mainstream'' Muslims that they are being blamed for fomenting terrorist attacks.
A Panorama documentary, which was due to be broadcast on Sunday and has been rescheduled, is expected to criticise the Muslim Council of Britain, which represents 400 organisations and is regarded as a voice of moderation. It has written to the BBC saying the investigation could "inflame mistrust".
Yesterday, several Muslim groups defended the MCB. The Muslim Association of Britain called it "one of the most respectable and reputable Muslim educational organisations in the West". It added: "Muslims in Britain would be excused for believing that we are witnessing an all-out attack on Muslim organisations."
The Federation of Student Islamic Societies said it was "alarmed at the attempts by some sections of the media to portray the MCB and its leadership as either extremist or having links to extremism".
A BBC spokesman said the programme's rescheduling had happened before the corporation received the letter from the MCB so that extra footage and other interviews could be included, and it would be broadcast on Aug 21.
Hizbut-tahrir, a Muslim organisation which the Government has threatened to ban, said yesterday that it had been involved in a Home Office consultation exercise aimed at improving race relations.
Imran Waheed, a spokesman for Hizbut-tahrir, said it was a non-violent group whose views the Home Office was happy to take into consideration when drawing up a strategy.
"The same Government which invited our opinions has decided to ban us," Mr Waheed said. "This seems very strange and hypocritical. It does not make any sense."
Twenty-five foreign terrorist organisations and 14 in Northern Ireland are on the official list of groups banned in Britain. Proscription means that a group is outlawed and that it is illegal for it to operate.
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