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Rights groups, opposition parties concerned about Blair anti-terror plan

[JURIST] Reaction to British Prime Minister Tony Blair's [official website] proposed anti-terrorism measures [JURIST report] was mixed Friday and Saturday, with opposition politicians and rights activists expressing concern over the civil liberties and immigration implications of the plan. The leader of the Liberal Democrats, Charles Kennedy, said on BBC Radio [Today interview audio] Saturday that there was "a lot that came out yesterday which is the first any of us have heard of some of these initiatives." The Liberal Democrat leader also suggested that his party might not support the initiatives [BBC report], threatening the fragile Parliamentary consensus now in place. Human rights organizations and Muslim advocacy groups flagged statements by Downing Street related to revisiting the British application of the European Convention on Human Rights [official text; Telegraph report]. Rights group Liberty UK released a statement saying "Mr. Blair says the rules of the game have changed, but public safety has never been a game. The fundamental values of a democracy cannot be changed because we are provoked by terrorists." Islamic Forum Europe [official website] also issued a statement of concern, especially after Blair announced his intention to ban Hizb ut-Tahrir [IOL report], a group that supports the creation of a single Islamic state in the Middle East, but condemns terror as a tool to achieve this goal. Reuters has more.

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