PM forced to shelve Islamist group ban

Nigel Morris
Tuesday 18 July 2006 00:00 BST

The Government has shelved moves to outlaw the radical Islamist group, Hizb ut-Tahrir, nearly a year after the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, made it a key part of his 12-point anti-terror plan.

It backed off after warnings from police, intelligence chiefs and civil liberties groups that a ban could backfire by forcing a non-violent group underground.

But John Reid, the Home Secretary, announced that two offshoots of al-Muhajiroun, founded by the controversial cleric Omar Bakri Mohammed, are to be proscribed under new legislation against the glorification of terrorism.

The Prime Minister's threatened clampdown on Hizb ut-Tahrir had proved highly controversial. The organisation backs the introduction of sharia law and has been banned in several countries, including Germany. But the group insists it opposes violence and has condemned bombings in London, Madrid and Bali.

The two UK-based organisations to be outlawed are al-Ghurabaa and the Saved Sect. It will become a criminal offence to belong to the groups, or encourage support for them.

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