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Last Updated: Friday, 12 August 2005, 15:07 GMT 16:07 UK
'No tears shed' on Bakri UK ban
Omar Bakri Mohammed
Bakri Mohammed praised the "magnificent 19" hijackers of 9/11
The whole country will welcome the decision to ban radical preacher Omar Bakri Mohammed from the UK, shadow home secretary David Davis has predicted.

The government is using existing exclusion powers, saying Mr Mohammed is "not conducive to the public good".

Mr Davis said he had urged ministers to deport or exclude such people and the Lib Dems said few tears would be shed.

Labour MP Shahid Malik welcomed the ban on a man who had long "tarnished the reputation" of British Muslims.

Mr Malik said most British Muslims would be reassured by the exclusion decision.

"He has glorified 9/11 and has really been a menace to community relations in this country," said the Muslim MP.

'Few tears'

Mr Mohammed is currently in Lebanon, where he says he is visiting his mother.

He is famous for praising the 9/11 hijackers as the "magnificent 19".

On Friday, the cleric was freed by the authorities in Lebanon a day after he was arrested at Syria's request.

He was seized after a TV interview in which he said he would not return to Britain as a persona non grata, only as a visitor.

Conservative Mr Davis said: "We have been urging the home secretary to use the powers available to him to exclude or deport non-UK citizens whose presence is not conducive to the public good and we are glad that he has done so."

Lib Dem home affairs spokesman Mark Oaten said excluding the self-styled sheikh would be a positive outcome as long as Lebanon behaved responsibly.

"Few tears will be shed at this decision," said Mr Oaten. "The home secretary has these powers and given the circumstances he is right to use them."

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