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PostSubject: Hardline Islamist Group To Be Banned   Tue Jan 12, 2010 2:45 am

The radical islamist group that sparked outrage with its proposed march through the Wiltshire town of Wootton Bassett is to be outlawed

Home Secretary Alan Johnson will use anti-terror powers to proscribe the organisation Al Muhajiroun and its latest offshoot Islam4UK.

The move means it will be a criminal offence from Thursday to become a member of these groups, or to attend or address any meetings in their name.

Anyone found guilty of such an offence could face a maximum of 10 years in prison.

The proscription of Al Muhajiroun and Islam4UK will also allow the authorities to take down websites run by the groups and makes it an offence to raise funds on their behalf.

Al Muhajiroun was founded by the controversial cleric Omar Bakri Mohammod.

However, he disbanded the group in 2004 - fearing the Government was about to outlaw it - and went into voluntary exile in Lebanon.

The group re-formed last summer, headed by its UK leader Anjem Choudary.

"Proscription is a tough but necessary power to tackle terrorism and is not a course we take lightly," Mr Johnson said.

"We are clear that an organisation should not be able to circumvent proscription by simply changing its name."

An offshoot of Al Muhajiroun, Islam4UK is already well established and sparked fury when Mr Choudary announced plans for an anti-war protest in Wootton Bassett

Crowds gather regularly in the town to honour British service personnel killed in the Afghanistan conflict.

The group said on Sunday it was cancelling the march, having achieved the publicity it wanted for its anti-war message.

However, it is likely the march would never have gone ahead anyway, as the Home Secretary will be able to ban any such gatherings once the groups are proscribed.

Sky sources have said the move to outlaw Al Muhajiroun and Islam4UK was made well before the Wootton Bassett controversy.

Government lawyers have been monitoring the groups' websites and comments made by their spokesmen, including Mr Choudary.

Even though the two organisations are to be banned, it is likely their supporters will simply re-form in another guise - as happened in 2004 when Al Muhajiroun was initially disbanded.

Then, its supporters formed two other groups, Al Ghurabaa and The Saved Sect, but they were proscribed in July 2006.

From Thursday, the group will also be banned under the names Call to Submission, Islam4UK, Islamic Path and London School of Sharia.

Al Muhajiroun and its supporters have never shied from controversy.

One of its events was billed as celebrating the "Magnificent 19" plane hijackers, following the 9/11 attacks in the US.

Although, Omar Bakri Mohammad is now banned from entering the UK, he continues to preach to his followers in Britain over the internet and by phone


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