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Sunday, August 15, 1999 Published at 23:17 GMT 00:17 UK


UK

Muslim cleric fights deportation order

The Home Office made the deportation order last year

A Muslim cleric will fight attempts by the government to deport him on grounds of national security at a hearing in London on Monday.

The Home Office will argue that Shafiq ur Rehman, who lives in Oldham, Lancashire, has been recruiting and training British Muslims to fight for an independent Kashmir.

Supporters of the cleric have been fighting against the Home Office ruling since a deportation order was made against him at the end of last year.

Pakistani national Mr ur Rehman arrived in Britain in 1993 to work as a minister of religion in Oldham. He and his wife have two children born in the UK.

The security authorities say he is the UK leader of an Islamic extremist organisation, the MDI, whose fighters have claimed responsibility for terrorist attacks aimed at ending Indian rule in Kashmir.

Photograph 'evidence'

Mr ur Ruchman was stopped at Manchester airport in 1997 on a return trip from Pakistan. He is alleged to have had with him a diary containing photographs of weapons, including small arms, light artillery and mortars.

But in the first case to be heard by the Special Immigration Appeals Commission, his supporters say Mr ur Ruchman condemns terrorism and that he has worked hard to create harmony amongst different Islamic sects in Britain. They say the government will need more evidence than photographs to deport the minister.

India and Pakistan recently came close to all-out war over Kashmir.



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