Thursday, January 14, 2010

Britain Moves to Ban Islamic Group -

    • Islam4UK Spokesman Anjem Choudary after a news conference on Tuesday in London.
    • Britain said Tuesday it was outlawing a radical Islamic group that had incited outrage by planning a protest march through the streets of a town made famous for its somber ceremonies honoring British soldiers killed in Afghanistan.
    • Alan Johnson, the British home secretary, said the move criminalizing membership in the banned group, Islam4UK, was a “tough but necessary power to tackle terrorism.” The ban, which takes effect Thursday, also outlawed other names used by the organization.

      The organization has described itself as a platform for promoting the views of an extremist Islamic group, Al Muhajiroun, which praised the hijackers of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States as heroes, but disbanded in 2005 in response to a British government order banning it. Islam4UK says it has never advocated or been involved with violence.

      The ban was announced one day after a court found five British Muslim men guilty of harassment and using insulting language during a protest they had staged at a separate parade welcoming British troops home from Afghanistan. The men had shouted slogans describing the soldiers as “murderers,” “rapists” and “baby killers.”

      The highly unusual trial, in a district court in Luton, a town with a large Muslim population 30 miles north of London, was seen by the defendants’ supporters as a rare test of Britain’s liberal free speech laws. Lawyers for the men argued during testimony last week that they had been justified in the words they displayed on placards and shouted at the soldiers because they were speaking “the truth.”


      The convicted men — who had refused to stand for the judge in court, saying Islam forbade showing respect to anybody but the Prophet Muhammad — were unrepentant after the verdicts. Outside the court they waved a placard: “Islam will dominate! Freedom can go to hell.”

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