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We must raise our voices against these repressive new terror laws

Tony Blair announced draconian anti-terror proposals last week, including the banning of Muslim groups and the deportation of clerics. The government is also talking about introducing secret courts for terror suspects. Abdurahman Jafar, a barrister an

Issue No. 1963

Abdurahman Jafar

Abdurahman Jafar

Blair's proposals will not protect Britain from terror. Not one of the proposals would have stopped the events of 7 July. They do not addresss the problems.

Blair is trying to brand anyone who doesn’t agree with his opinion as a terrorist. He’s saying that anyone who disagress should leave the country.

He has banned legitimate demonstrations in front of parliament. These are massive moves to silence and censor on the wave of a horrible right wing media agenda.

Blair is showing his true neo-conservative colours. He has wanted to repeal part of the Human Rights Act for a long while. He is using the atocities of 7 July to do this.

The government should be proscribing terror institutions, so why are they talking about proscribing mosques and imams? The people who did the attacks in July didn’t do them because of what an imam said.

They did them because of what they saw on national TV — the slaughter of civilians in Iraq.

Charges of treason are being spoken about in a wide way. Somebody who opposed the Iraq war and expressed that could be charged with a secondary act of inciting terrorism.

The government’s language is designed to whip up the already fomenting hatred from the tabloid press. All of these measures — banning the Islamic group al-Muhajiroun and sending away clerics — could have been done under current laws.

The government is banning Hizb ut-Tahrir, which the government admits is not a terrorist organisation. I don’t like them because they say Muslims should disengage from democracy. But they shouldn’t be banned.

The Muslim community is being terrified by these measures. Most of the leads about the bombers in July came from Muslims. That will dry up if this community is stigmatised and isolated.

This is what happened when Britain was trying to deal with Irish terrorism. It prolonged the conflict by using repressive policies which forced the Irish community into a backs against the wall position.

The lessons of history have not been learned.The Muslim community is very vulnerable and marginalised.

Unless civil society wakes up we will see a horrific change in our way of life. I believe these proposals will not silence us. I don’t believe civil society will be cowed.We must exert our voices and not shy away from criticism and responding.

I live in London. Britain is a wonderful place to live. We must show the beauty of our diversity and stand up together against terrorism and what Blair is doing. He is rolling back our freedoms and our civil liberties.

The Iraq war and the events of 7 July are milestones in British history. We must make sure they are the closing chapter of Tony Blair’s rule.

Truth and dialogue would go a long way to solving the problems. But Tony Blair is jeopardising national security with his policies. He is trying to turn the country into something it’s not.

If Blair was truly sincere in minimising the threat to Britain he would simply resign. A timetable for withdrawal from Iraq needs to be set, because that is what the population wants.

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Sat 13 Aug 2005, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1963
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