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Last Updated: Saturday, 6 August 2005, 15:37 GMT 16:37 UK
Muslim party condemns Blair's ban
Dr Imran Waheed of Hizb ut-Tahrir
Dr Waheed (left) said Hizb ut-Tahrir was a peaceful political party
A Muslim political party has reacted angrily to Prime Minister Tony Blair's calls for it to be banned.

Hizb ut-Tahrir said his decision on Friday was a move designed to curb legal Islamic political debate.

Party spokesman Dr Imran Waheed denounced the 7 July London bombings and said the party was committed to peaceful political campaigning.

Mr Blair had banned membership of the group alongside that of another party, Al Muhajiroun.

Placing a ban on a political party with a 50-year history of non-violence will lead many to question the talk of freedom of speech
Dr Imran Waheed

Mr Blair's plans were outlined alongside a raft of proposals to extend powers to deport or exclude foreigners accused of encouraging terrorism.

The prime minister had also said he was prepared to amend human rights laws to make deportations much easier.

Dr Waheed said: "Even though the party has been open to intellectual debate and even though the Prime Minister said that he wanted a battle of ideas, it became apparent that this government could not face the party through such avenues and resorted to such draconian measures."

He said: "Placing a ban on a political party with a 50-year history of non-violence will lead many to question the talk of freedom of speech, tolerance, people power, human rights and democracy."

The party has campaigned for the introduction of sharia law in all Muslim countries, and has been banned in several states.

It posted a statement following the G8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, in July which said the "colonialists, especially America and Britain, harbour a hidden hatred against Islam and the Muslims".

Its membership size in the UK is unknown, though Dr Waheed said a recent conference had drawn 10,000 people.




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