Two extremist groups including Nigeria-based Boko Haram face UK membership and support ban

UK-based Minbar Ansar Deen and Boko Haram to be proscribed in the UK under terrorism laws

Two extremist groups - UK-based Minbar Ansar Deen and Nigeria-based Boko Haram - are to be proscribed in the UK under terrorism laws, making membership and support for them a criminal offence.

Home Secretary Theresa May is to lay an order which, if approved by Parliament, will ban both of the radical Islamist organisations from operating in the UK from midnight on Friday morning.

Minbar Ansar Deen - also known as Ansar al-Sharia UK - promotes terrorism by distributing content through its online forum, which encourages individuals to travel overseas to engage in extremist activity, specifically fighting, the Home Office said.

The Government said banning Boko Haram, which aspires to establish Islamic law in Nigeria, will prevent the group from operating in the UK and give the police powers to tackle any UK-based support for the group.

Decisions to proscribe the organisations are understood to be unrelated to the murder of soldier Drummer Lee Rigby near Woolwich barracks in south-east London in May.

The penalties for proscription offences can be a maximum of 10 years in prison or a £5,000 fine.

Under the Terrorism Act 2000, the Home Secretary can proscribe an organisation if it is believed to be concerned in terrorism.

However, a high threshold, taking into account the threat the group poses to the UK, must be met for the minister to go ahead and proscribe an organisation.

If approved by Parliament, it will be a criminal offence to belong to or back Minbar Ansar Deen or Boko Haram, as well arrange meetings or wear clothing in support of them.

Other proscribed groups include al-Qa'ida, Al Shabaab and Islam4UK, which before it was banned was led by Anjem Choudary.

PA

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