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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 August 2005, 09:02 GMT 10:02 UK
Anti-terror legislation condemned
Armed officers on patrol
The proposals were part of the response to the London bombings
Muslim groups have condemned proposed anti-terrorism legislation saying it could lead to the "demonisation" of legitimate Islamic values and beliefs.

An Islamic Human Rights Commission statement has 38 signatories, including the Muslim Association of Britain.

Plans to close mosques accused of "fomenting extremism" could create a "very radical sub-culture which we all seek to prevent", the statement says.

The government is planning tighter laws following the July terror attacks.

Prime Minister Tony Blair said he was prepared to amend human rights laws to make deportations more straightforward.

Massoud Shadjareh, chairman of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, said: "The British Muslim community has always been a law-abiding community and all its endeavours to create a just society have been entirely peaceful.

"However, we will not allow the demonising, devaluing or targeting of the concept of Islam which will we hold very dear."

The government's suggested banning of pressure group Hizb ut-Tahrir is also criticised by the Commission.

Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain is also one of the signatories to the six-point statement, a response to government measures in the wake of the London bombings.

Events 'exploited'

The statement calls for "any disagreement" with a political organisation to be expressed through debate not censorship.

"We fear that recent events are being exploited by some sections in society to demonise legitimate Islamic values and beliefs," it adds.

It also:

  • Describes the use of the term extremism as "unhelpful" for having "no tangible legal meaning".

  • Says questioning the legitimacy of Israeli occupation was a valid political expression.

  • Labels plans to deport foreign nationals to nations known for human rights abuses as "abhorrent".

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