'Bin Laden's envoy' faces deportation under new law

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The Independent Online

Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary, said yesterday that he was taking new powers by amending the Immigration and Asylum Bill, now going through Parliament, to deport or exclude from Britain people who incited others to commit terrorist acts.

The Home Office will draw up a list of "unacceptable behaviour" such as preaching a message of hatred, running websites or writing articles intended to "foment or provoke terrorism" and compile an international database of extremists for immigration officers. Such behaviour would not be permitted by anyone with leave to enter or remain in this country, Mr Clarke said. If people in the United Kingdom engaged in such actions, it might be appropriate to deport them.

The Jordanian-born cleric Abu Qatada was held in Belmarsh prison without charge after the 11 September attacks and is now the subject of a control order. His sermons were found in a flat used by the 11 September hijackers and he is believed to have inspired the shoe bomber, Richard Reid.

He has been convicted of terrorism in his absence in Jordan and several European states are believed to be trying to extradite him. The Government will try to deport Abu Qatada under an agreement with Jordan that guarantees deportees will not be mistreated. A second Jordanian previously held at Belmarsh, Abu Rideh, could also face deportation. The process could take years as he could challenge removal in the British courts, but yesterday's agreement reduces the prospect of a ruling that deportation breaches the European Convention on Human Rights. Ministers hope to conclude similar agreements with Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia so that up to 20 known extremists can be deported.

Tony Blair will today ask the intelligence and security services whether they still oppose the use of evidence from telephone tapping against suspected terrorists. He told MPs that that he was in favour "in principle" but security chiefs had advised in the past that the disadvantages would outweigh the benefits. The Prime Minister said that he planned to host a conference to bring together all countries affected by Islamist extremism "to try to take concerted action, right across the world, to try to root out this type of extremist teaching."

Human rights groups expressed their concern. Kate Allen, of Amnesty International, said: "Promises from countries like Jordan, known to have used torture, are not worth the paper they are written on."

n A 30-year-old man has been charged with a public order offence after leaflets allegedly intended to incite racial hatred were delivered outside a mosque.

Mohammed Rahman, of Edmonton, north London, is accused under section 5 of the Public Order Act of causing "harassment, alarm and distress". He will appear at Enfield magistrates' court tomorrow, Scotland Yard said yesterday.

Police were called to the mosque in Fore Street, Edmonton, on Monday night after elders there alleged that the leaflets were being delivered.