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Britain places ban on Islamist group

Published:Wednesday | January 13, 2010 | 12:00 AM


The British government banned an Islamist group notorious for glorifying al-Qaida and tied to terror plots at home and abroad, but its Lebanon-based spiritual leader promised to reorganise under a different name.

The group, Islam4UK, will be banned starting tomorrow after its British leader, Anjem Choudary, threatened to bring hundreds of people marching in protest through the streets of a small market town, known for honouring the British soldiers killed in Afghanistan.

Terror organisations

The latest ban puts the group in the same league with terror organisations such as al-Qaida, and the Tamil Tigers. It could lead to the arrest of anyone meeting under the Islam4UK name or using the group's insignia.

The group, previously known as Al-Muhajiroun, was banned before, only to change its name and resurface again. Al-Muhajiroun, which means 'The Emigrants' in Arabic, catapulted to notoriety shortly after September 11, 2001, when it organised an event celebrating the airline hijackers who slaughtered thousands in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.

The group and its founder Omar Bakri became among the most aggressive voices of radical Islam in Britain. Officials have said that Omar Khan Sharif, who attempted to blow himself up at an Israeli bar in 2003, was associated with al-Muhajiroun. So too was Mohammed Junaid Babar, a Pakistani-born al-Qaida member turned FBI informant.