Two UK-based Islamist groups are to become the first to be banned under laws outlawing the glorification of terrorism, the home secretary has said. John Reid said he was taking action against Al-Ghurabaa and the Saved Sect. Under an order put down in Parliament, it will be an offence to belong to the groups, encourage support for them or wear clothes suggesting support. Mr Reid said the move sent a signal that the UK would not tolerate people who supported terrorism. The groups are both thought to be offshoots of Al Muhajiroun, which was founded by controversial cleric Omar Bakri Mohammed.
Quite what will be accomplished by banning the few dozen idiots who make up the membership of these groups is difficult to see. And an offence of “wearing clothes suggesting support” sounds open to abuse to say the least. However, it looks as though press reports that Hizb ut-Tahrir would be illegalised were inaccurate – for now. Asked about Hizb, a Home Office spokesman said: “This does remain a group about which we have real concerns and we are keeping the situation under review.”
For Inayat Bunglawala’s comments, see Islam Online, 18 July 2006