Islamic Human Rights Commission
Urgent Alert

21 September, 1998

Please help campaign against harassment of the Muslim community.

The Criminal Justice (Conspiracy & Terrorism) Bill has become law. The laws will include wide-ranging powers to stop support and association with groups deemed to be ‘inflicting terror’ abroad. The Islamic Human Rights Commission is deeply disturbed by this development.

We are urging campaigners to continue protesting about these laws. Please help campaign against the Criminal Justice (Conspiracy & Terrorism) ACT. The Act is renewable annually. IHRC intends to monitor the use of law, and if necessary take cases to Europe, and challenge the law. IHRC also will be liasing with other groups to raise awareness of the nature of the laws. International pressure from non-UK campaigners in particular we hope will help the protest against these measures.

The reasons submitted for our concerns are:

• Firstly, the definition of ‘terrorism’ is too wide to be used fairly. Currently banned organisations can fall into this category. This could effect e.g. the Algerian groups campaigning for justice in their homeland, who are based in the UK, as they are currently considered to be ‘terrorist’ by the Algerian regime.

• Secondly, issues such as verbal support and association with groups who are deemed to be associating with banned groups, can also be an offence. Basically anyone, Muslim or non-Muslim carrying out some form of political activity could be targeted by various means of associating with ‘banned’ groups.

• Thirdly, the rules of evidence seem to be much lower, allowing conviction upon the word of one senior police officer. If a suspect remains silent (a constitutional right in the UK) this will be deemed as a sign of guilt.

• Islamophobia in the UK is on the rise. Over a year ago we saw the temporary closure of a charity collecting aid for Palestinian children, without the type of laws proposed. IHRC fears that the Muslim community could be criminalised by this act, even though no crime has been committed.

Please write to the following expressing your concern at the Act’s lack of respect for basic human rights to:

Tony Blair, Prime Minister, 10 Downing Street, London, SW1A 2AA, UK
Fax: (+44) 171 925 0918, Tel: (+44) 171 270 3000
E-MAIL:labour-party@geo2.poptel.org.uk they will forward the message to Tony Blair

Jack Straw, Home Secretary, Home Office, 50 Queen Anne’s Gate, London, SW1H 9AT
Fax: (+44) 171 273 2190, Tel: (+44) 171 273 4000, e-mail: gen.ho@gtnet.gov.uk

William Hague, Leader of the Opposition, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA, UK
http://www.conservative.org.uk/email/index.html this is a form which you can submit to him or other party figures.

Mrs. Mary Robinson, United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: (+4122) 9170092,

Ann Clwyd MP, Chairperson Parliamentary Human Rights Group
House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA, UK, e-mail: PHRG@HRG>DEMON.CO.UK

Amnesty International, e-mail: amnestyis@amnesty.org[END]