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Britain Bans 2 Islamist Groups

July 18, 2006|From the Associated Press

LONDON — Britain on Monday banned two Islamist groups operating in the country, invoking for the first time a new law against glorifying terrorism.

Home Secretary John Reid issued an order in Parliament to make it a criminal offense for a person to belong to or encourage support for Al Ghurabaa and the Saved Sect.

Both groups are believed to be splinters of Al Muhajiroun, formed in 1996 by Omar Bakri Mohammed to promote a global Islamic state. The group was disbanded in 2004, and Bakri Mohammed has been prohibited from returning to Britain.

The orders make it illegal to arrange meetings in their support, or to wear clothing or carry any article in public indicating support or membership.

Al Ghurabaa spokesman Anjem Choudary reacted with outrage.

"The easy option when one is losing an argument is to ban the opposition voice. And that's what's happened here," Choudary said. "We are not a military organization -- we have only been vociferous in our views."

Representatives of the Saved Sect were not immediately available for comment.

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