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Press release

Muslim Parliament expresses deep concern over the Terror Law

The Muslim Parliament has expressed its grave concern over the Anti-Terrorist, Crime and Security Bill in which the Government is attempting derogation from its international obligations. The haste with which the Bill is being rushed through Parliament and its wide ranging implications are the cause of much concern for Muslims and civil liberties organisations.

The Government’s sop to the Muslim community to extend the criminal law to make it an offence to incite religions hatred is unlikely to be effective without safeguards, particularly in view of the already strained relationship with the front line law enforcement agencies. What the Muslim community requires is effective anti-discrimination laws to counter discrimination they face in education, employment and housing on the grounds of religion.

Other areas of intimate concern to the Muslim community include the wide definition given to terrorism, extensive powers given of arrest without warrant and detention without charge. The latter of these will cause profound concern to the Muslim community, which is likely to perceive this as a law exclusively targeting Muslims and open to abuse by the enforcement agencies. Muslims will view the intelligence used to detain individuals in the first instance with scepticism, as this would have been received from governments with poor human rights track records. This will also be infringement of individuals’ civil rights.

The Muslim Parliament is working closely with a consortium of other leading Muslim organisations. A joint submission was made to the Home Affairs Select Committee and the Home Secretary. Following a meeting with senior civil servants two weeks ago, an urgent meeting is now being sought with David Blunkett.

22 November 2001

 

 

 

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