UK: Militant Islamist groups banned under terror law

Two Islamist militant groups were banned by the Government yesterday. However, ministers failed to proscribe Hizb-ut-Tahrir despite a promise by Tony Blair a year ago.

Al-Ghurabaa and the Saved Sect [Saviour Sect] are the first two organisations to be banned under new laws outlawing the glorification of terrorism.

John Reid, the Home Secretary, laid an order in Parliament making it a criminal offence for a person to belong to or encourage support for either group.

It will also be illegal to arrange meetings in their support or to wear clothes or carry articles in public indicating support for either group.

Islam / Islamism

Islamism is a totalitarian ideology adhered to by Muslim extremists (e.g. the Taliban, Wahhabis, Hamas and Osama bin Laden). It is considered to be a distortion of Islam. Many Islamists engage in terrorism in pursuit of their goals.

Adherents of Islam are called “Muslims.” The term “Arab” describes an ethnic or cultural identity. Not all Arabs are Muslims, and not all Muslims are Arabs. The terms are not interchangeable.

Last August the Prime Minister announced a hastily prepared package of anti-terror measures, saying: “We will proscribe Hizb-ut-Tahrir and the successor organisation of Al Mujahiroun.”

The banned groups are believed to be offshoots of Al-Mujahiroun, the militant organisation founded by Omar Bakri Mohammad. They were involved in protests this year against the publication of cartoons of the prophet Muhammad in a Danish newspaper.

Mr Reid is also banning two foreign groups, the Baluchistan Liberation Army and Teyrebaz Azadiya Kurdistan.

Kongra Gele Kurdistan and KADEK are also being added to the banned list because they are alternative names for the outlawed Kurdish terrorist group PKK.

Mr Reid said: “Proscribing these groups — which are either engaged in terrorism or which glorify terrorist acts — sends a strong signal that the United Kingdom is not prepared to tolerate those who support terrorism here or anywhere in the world.

“I am determined to act against those who, while not directly involved in committing acts of terrorism, provide support for and make statements that glorify, celebrate and exalt the atrocities of terrorist groups.

“I am also committed to ensuring that those organisations that change their name do not avoid the consequences of proscription.”

Al-Ghurabaa and the Saved Sect came to wide public notice when they were named as the organisers of the protests outside the Danish Embassy in London in February.

Protesters brandished placards with slogans such as “butcher those who mock Islam”, “massacre those who insult Islam” and “behead the one who insults the prophet”.

In a memorandum issued alongside yesterday’s order, the Home Office said that al-Ghurabaa “courts publicity and makes deliberately provocative and controversial statements expressing extremist views” which fall foul of the anti-glorification legislation.

The Saved Sect website also distributes “extremist material” covered by the glorification offence, said the Home Office.

Omar Bakri Mohammad, who founded al-Muhajiroun in 1996, was barred from re-entering Britain after travelling to Lebanon.

The Baluchistan Liberation Army is a tribal group operating in eastern Pakistan and demanding an independent nation encompassing the Baluch-dominated areas of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran.

It has claimed responsibility for, or is the prime suspect in, a number of terrorist attacks dating back to 2004, including the murder of Chinese engineers in Pakistan.

TAK is a Kurdish group that has claimed a series of bomb attacks in Turkey. It is suspected of carrying out a minibus bombing in July 2005 that killed five people, including a Briton and an Irish national.

Sidebar: APOSTLES OF HATE

Al-Ghurabaa

Believed to be a splinter group of al-Muhajiroun, which was formed in 1996 by Omar Bakri Muhammad with the aim of creating a worldwide Islamic state. Al-Muhajiroun dissolved in 1994. The al-Ghurabaa website is registered at the same address and shares the same contact number as al-Muhajiroun. The internet is al-Ghurabaa’s key medium for mobilisiing support. The organisation courts publicity by making provocative statements expressing extremist views.

Saved Sect

The group’s website disseminates extremist material. It is believed that the Saved Sect and al-Ghurabaa websites work in tandem to disseminate an Islamist message under the umbrella of Ahlus-Sunnah Wal-Jammaa’ah, described as a sect within Islam

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