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UK seeks powers to close mosques

06-10-2005

London, IRNA - Home Secretary Charles Clarke Thursday announced controversial proposals that give the police powers to close mosques, which fail to comply with an order to prevent them from being used to forment extremism.

Releasing his proposals by way of a consultation paper, Clarke also made clear his determination to bring in other tough new powers already put forward, including extending the maximum pre-charge detention for terror suspects from two weeks to three months.

"The UK is facing a real and continuing terrorist threat, and it is vital that we do everything in our power to tackle those who would seek to strike at the heart of our society, to destroy what we hold dear," he said.

The Home Secretary argued that the "key" to tackle terrorism and extremism was in "tightening our laws." He added that he had made clear he wanted to consult on proposed new measures, while issuing a paper on 'Preventing Extremism Together - Places of Worship."

Under the proposals, he said he was considering creating a legal process whereby those controlling places of worship can be required by a court order to take steps to stop "certain extremist behaviour" occurring.

But regardless of whether a person is successfully prosecuted for failure to comply with the order, Clarke said that a further order could still be issued restricting the use of the place of worship,including temporary closure.

With regard to extending the detention of terror suspects being held without charge to three months, he argued that he was confident that the police would use their extended power "cautiously and in moderation" as they do with existing detentions.

According to a copy of his statement obtained by IRNA, the Home Secretary announced he was clarifying the wording of the proposed controversial offence of "glorifying terrorism" to make clear it was focused on those intending to incite further atrocities.

The extended anti-terrorism plans in the wake of July's London bombing have already being criticized by civil rights groups as well as Muslims, who fear they will be the main target of the new powers.
HC

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