UK Unveils Plan to Bar Hate Preachers | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 24.08.2005
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UK Unveils Plan to Bar Hate Preachers

Britain finalized a new plan on Wednesday to help deport or bar Islamic radicals who promote terrorism in the wake of last month's London bombings and said it would be implemented within days.


New measures aim to keep people like the bombers out of Britain

British Home Secretary Charles Clarke said the list of so-called "unacceptable behaviors" would counter the "real and significant" threat of terrorism.

But Muslim groups and human rights experts criticised the move as too vague and said it might affect legitimate struggles against human rights abuses. They are also worried about a plan by the British government to deport hardline Islamists to countries where they may face torture or even execution.

Clarke said the plan would take effect "very quickly. The next few days."

He said he had an obligation "to stop people coming into this country to get young people, in particular, to behave in the appalling way we saw in July."

Part of larger crackdown

Terroranschlag in London BdT

The scenes at Edgware Road Tube Station in London following an explosion, Thursday July 7, 2005.

The list is part of a wide-ranging government crackdown on Islamic extremist and other groups in the wake of the July 7 suicide bombings, which killed 56 people, and attempted copycat attacks on July 21.

Prime Minister Tony Blair warned earlier this month "the rules of the game are changing."

The Home Office plan -- compiled after a two-week consultation with Muslim groups and other organizations -- applies both to non-British citizens already in the country and those who want to come to Britain. It will be used as a basis for Clarke to ban or deport people from Britain.

The so-called "unacceptable behaviors" include those which: foment, justify or glorify terrorist violence, seek to provoke others to terrorist acts, foment other serious criminal activity or seek to provoke others to commit serious criminal acts, or foster hatred which might lead to inter-community violence in Britain.

The banned views could be aired by writing, producing or distributing material, public speaking or over an Internet site. They could also be delivered by someone in a position of responsibility such as a teacher or a community leader.

Those given a deportation order in Britain have the right to appeal, while anyone banned from entering the country can seek a judicial review.

Muslims concerned

Inayat Bunglawala, a spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain, disagreed, arguing the criteria were too vague.

Muslime in London Moschee

British Muslims listen to the Imam at their traditional Friday prayers in Regent's Park Mosque, in London, Friday July 8, 2005.

"We are especially concerned that senior Islamic scholars will be barred from the UK purely on the basis of media witch hunts orchestrated by pro-Israeli elements," Bunglawala said.

In addition, the United Nations' special rapporteur on torture, Manfred Nowak, said Britain's plan to deport firebrand Islamists to countries with poor human rights records would expose them to "a real risk" of the death penalty.

But Clarke responded angrily, saying the UN should pay more attention to the rights of the victims.

"The human rights of those people who were blown up on the Tube in London on July 7 are, to be quite frank, more important than the human rights of the people who committed those acts," he told the ITV News Channel.

"It is a balance, of course, and I acknowledge that there are real issues that have to be addressed, but I wish the UN would look at human rights in the round rather than simply focusing all the time on the terrorist."

Britain is working on agreements with a number of countries which it says will protect any deportees from ill treatment.

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