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UK Drops Mosque Closure Plan

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    After Opposition, UK Drops Mosque Closure Plan http://www.islamonline.net/English/News/2005-12/15/article10.shtml Clarke said Muslim leaders and police
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 5, 2006
      After Opposition, UK Drops Mosque Closure Plan
      http://www.islamonline.net/English/News/2005-12/15/article10.shtml


      Clarke said Muslim leaders and police officers believe strengthening
      relations between police and the minority would be more effective.
      (Reuters)


      LONDON, December 15, 2005 (IslamONline.net & News Agencies) – The
      British government dropped on Thursday, December 15, a controversial
      plan to close down mosques allegedly used by extremists after
      opposition from police and the Muslim minority.

      "I will not seek to legislate on this issue at the present time,
      although we will keep the matter under review," Home Secretary
      Charles Clarke said in a written statement to parliament cited by
      Agence France-Presse (AFP).

      He said both Muslim leaders and senior police officers believed
      strengthening relations between police and the minority would be
      more effective.

      Clarke proposed in October that police should have powers to
      temporarily close mosques "used as a centre for fomenting
      extremism," and forcing trustees or registered owners to take action.

      Failure to do so would have been a criminal offence, with continued
      extremist activity potentially leading to the "last resort" of
      shutting down the venue.

      The proposal was part of a 12-point plan of anti-terror measures
      drawn up in the wake of the July 7 attacks on London's public
      transport system that killed 56, including four Muslim bombers.

      However, it has drawn rebuke and fierce opposition from police and
      the Muslim minority.

      The new decision follows Prime Minister Tony Blair's first lower
      House of Commons vote defeat in his eight-year tenure in November,
      over a proposal to hold terror suspects for up to 90 days without
      charge.

      Not Favored


      "The power suggested seems to us to amount to a desire to 'get
      someone, anyone'," said Mylne.


      Clarke's letter followed consultation with 66 people and
      organizations around Britain, the majority of whom were not in favor.

      "There would need to be significant changes to the intentions and
      wording of the legislation for it to be either desirable or
      enforceable," said Rob Beckley, the Association of Chief Police
      Officers' counter-terrorism spokesman.

      Graham Sparkes, of the Baptist Union of Great Britain, said his
      group would be "very sensitive" towards anything that
      threatened "hard-won" freedoms of expression.

      Morag Mylne, convenor of the Church and Society Council of the
      Protestant Church of Scotland, also more critical.

      "The power suggested seems to us to amount to a desire to 'get
      someone, anyone'.

      "We think there is no point trying to adjust or amend the proposal.
      We believe it should be abandoned forthwith."

      The proposal has been severely criticized by opponents including
      many in Blair's own Labour Party who said they could radicalize the
      Muslim minority and erode civil rights while doing nothing to make
      the country safer.

      Stereotyped


      "The notion of influential 'back-door' mosques is a figment of the
      imagination," Sacranie insisted.


      Sir Iqbal Sacranie, the General Secretary of the Muslim Council of
      Britain, said they have been deeply disturbed that the government
      was associating "the evil of violence" with their places of worship.

      "We therefore feel that mosques are being misidentified and
      stereotyped as incubators of violent extremism, while the social
      reality is that they serve as centers of moderation," he said in a
      statement.

      Sacranie stressed that the July 7 bombers were "indoctrinated by a
      sub-culture outside the mosque."

      "The notion of influential 'back-door' mosques is a figment of the
      imagination."

      He asserted that British foreign policy and the "double standards"
      of London and Washington in their dealings in the Middle East were a
      major factor in the rise and spread of terrorism.

      Sir Christopher Meyer, the former British ambassador to Washington,
      said Saturday, November 5, that the Iraq war has fuelled home-grown
      terrorism in Britain.

      "There is plenty of evidence around at the moment that home-grown
      terrorism was partly radicalized and fuelled by what is going on in
      Iraq."

      A leaked secret memo written by Foreign Office Permanent Secretary
      Michael Jay warned Blair a year ago that the Iraq war was fuelling
      extremism at home and making Britain seen as a crusader state.

      A report from Britain 's Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC)
      further said that events in Iraq "are continuing to act as
      motivation and a focus of a range of terrorist-related activity in
      the UK".

      Also read:

      UK Muslims Turn Out in Force for Peace, Unity

      UK Muslims Launch Body to Nurture Home-grown Imams

      UK Muslim Youth Give Blair a Piece of Their Mind

      UK Muslims' Roadmap to Govt. to Curb Extremism




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