Government Drops Plans to Shut Down Extremist Mosques

December 16, 2005

Source: The Guardian,2763,1668779,00.html

On December 16, 2005 The Guardian reported, "Ministers yesterday dropped plans proposed by Tony Blair as part of his 12-point anti-terror plan in the wake of the July bombings to close mosques that are used to foment extremism after criticism from the police and religious leaders. The home secretary, Charles Clarke, proposed the police should have the power to secure a court order requiring trustees of a mosque or other place of worship to stop the activities of extremists or face a temporary closure. It was widely seen as an attempt to avoid a repeat of the case of the Finsbury Park mosque in north London, which was used as a base by Islamist extremists. But the sharp reaction has forced the government to abandon the idea. Rob Beckley, the Association of Chief Police Officers spokesman on terrorism, warned it would lead to the unhelpful identification of Islam with terrorism, be seen as limiting free speech, and prove futile to enforce. The Church of England demanded to know why places of worship were being singled out while the representatives of other religions reminded the government that a struggle for their independence had been fought out through history."