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Last Updated: Saturday, 30 April 2005, 16:57 GMT 17:57 UK
Muslims protest over terror laws
Marchers at Marble Arch
Marchers set off from London's Marble Arch
Hundreds of Muslims have taken part in marches through London and Blackburn to protest anti-terror legislation.

Saturday's protests were organised by more than 50 Islamic organisations including Stop Political Terror and the Islamic Human Rights Commission.

Dr Adnan Siddiqui, an organiser of the London march, said: "This demonstration sends a clear message against the climate of fear that has been created."

The Blackburn protest was aimed at the local MP, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw.

Protesters in London marched from Marble Arch to Paddington Green police station in London.

Organisers estimated up to 2,000 attended the rally, while police put the figure at 800.

In Blackburn, between 150 and 200 supporters took to the streets in protest.

War on terror

Dr Siddiqui said the Muslim community could not "afford to be silent in the face of the 'war on terror' and its domestic and international manifestations - we must stand together with strength and confidence to dispel the myths about Islam and the Muslim community".

Another organiser, Dr Imran Waheed, said people were angry about control orders placed on suspects and the detention of people without trial in Guantanamo Bay.

"We are speaking out about the atmosphere which is being generated in our community," he said.

"We believe our community is making a contribution to the wider society.

"We feel that this draconian implementation of the war on terror is damaging relations between Muslims and others," Dr Waheed added.

We have seen a curtailing of some basic liberties for the purpose of maintaining a state of fear amongst the British public
Inayat Bunglawala
Muslim Council of Britain

Muslim Council of Britain spokesman Inayat Bunglawala said: "These events show the concern that exists in the Muslim community about the way anti-terror laws have been applied.

"Many Muslim people feel stigmatised by the way the laws have been used. Innocent people have been arrested and their families have come under suspicion."

He added: "There is no denying that in the last few years we have seen a curtailing of some basic liberties for the purpose of maintaining a state of fear amongst the British public."



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