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Volume 715: debated on Tuesday 8 December 2009


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to prevent Al-Muhajiroun from re-launching in the United Kingdom. [HL305]

Al-Muhajiroun publicly disbanded in 2004. In 2006, two successor groups to Al-Muhajiroun—Al-Ghurabaa and the Saved Sect—were proscribed by the then Home Secretary. We are aware of media reports that Al-Muhajiroun has been relaunched. Organisations which cause us concern are constantly reviewed and should fresh information come to light which would bring them within the definition of being “concerned with terrorism” as defined in the Terrorism Act 2000 it opens up the possibility of proscription, which we believe is a tough but necessary power to tackle terrorism. Any decision on proscription must be proportionate and based on evidence that a group is concerned in terrorism.

Where individuals incite violence or commit other crimes, this is a matter for the police. We have strengthened our powers to catch those who cross the line from legitimate debate into inciting violence or who commit offences motivated by racial or religious hatred. Where there is any evidence of criminal activity, the police take the appropriate and necessary action. However, the challenge to extremists who skirt the bounds of legality cannot just be one of law enforcement. We also have to provide a robust legal challenge to groups that espouse intolerant and divisive ideologies. Where individuals or groups continue to articulate views which fall short of supporting violence and are within the law, but which reject and undermine community cohesion, the Government will challenge these views. Alongside this challenge, we also work with community organisations and individuals to give them the skills they need to be able to counter the messages of violent extremists themselves.