Anti-terror legislation condemned

A Muslim human rights group has said proposed anti-terrorism legislation could "demonise" legitimate Islamic beliefs.

BBC, 16.08.05

The Islamic Human Rights Commission said the proposals "targeted the concept of Islam".

The IHRC also condemned plans to deport foreign Muslims to countries known for human rights abuses.

But an online poll of 341 Muslims showed more than 60% backed deportation of foreign nationals who preach hatred.

However, IHRC chairman Massoud Shadjareh said the British Muslim community had always been law-abiding.

"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," Mr Shadjareh said.

In the wake of the July terror attacks on London Prime Minister Tony Blair said he was prepared to amend human rights laws to make deportations more straightforward.

As well as showing widespread support for that move, the survey by the Muslim Voice UK website also showed only 13% of respondents felt Muslim "leaders" were representative of the British Muslim community, and only 3% believed they engaged effectively with British Muslim youth.

Events 'exploited'

Nearly 40 organisations signed the IHRC statement, which also condemned the government's proposed banning of pressure group Hizb ut-Tahrir - one of the signatories to the six-point statement.

The organisation, which insists it does not advocate violence, is dedicated to the establishment of an Islamic state across the Middle East.

The IHRC 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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