July 7 Attacks Could Happen Again, Warns Banned Group’s Spokesman

    By Philip Johnston LONDON – A leading figure in a militant Islamic group banned by the Government yesterday warned of further attacks like the July 7 bombings in London last year. Anjem Choudary said Al-Ghurabaa (AG) was a purely ”political organisation” campaigning against British foreign policy. Along with a group called the Saved Sect, it was proscribed under new laws against glorifying terrorism. Both are off-shoots of Al Muhajiroun, the organisation founded by Omar Bakri Mohamed, the exiled extremist now in Lebanon. Mr Choudary, who describes himself as a spokesman for AG, accused the Home Office of militarising Muslims and driving them underground. “If it reaches a situation when the life and the wealth of the people is violated then what happened on 7/7 could very well reoccur,” he said. “People like us are trying to prevent another 7/7, but it seems to me the Government are fuelling more of a frenzy within the Muslim community. Ultimately they are fermenting more of the same of what took place on 7/7. There is no evidence to suggest we are anything other than an ideological and political movement.” It will be a criminal offence for a person to belong to or encourage support for the two banned groups, to arrange meetings in their support or to wear clothes or carry articles in public indicating support or membership. Their financial assets can be frozen or seized. Al-Muhajiroun was wound up two years ago but spawned the two banned groups whose members were involved in protests earlier this year against the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in a Danish newspaper. They brandished placards with slogans including “butcher those who mock Islam”, “massacre those who insult Islam” and “behead the one who insults the Prophet”. Six people were later arrested and charged with offences including soliciting to murder, inciting racial hatred, disorderly behaviour and organising a procession without notifying police. The Home Office said that AG “courts publicity and makes deliberately provocative and controversial statements expressing extremist views”. The Saved Sect website “disseminates extremist material which it is considered falls within section 21 of the Terrorism Act 2006”. It added: ”It is believed that SS and AG websites are working in tandem to disseminate an Islamist message under the umbrella of Ahl Us-Sunnah Wal-Jammaa’ah, described as a sect within Islam.” However, this umbrella group has not been proscribed. The Government has also added two foreign extremist groups, the Baluchistan Liberation Army and Teyrebaz Azadiye Kurdistan, to the list of banned organisations.

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