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Plan to shut extremist mosques dropped from UK terror law draft

[JURIST] UK Home Secretary Charles Clarke [official profile] said Thursday that he was dropping a contentious provision in proposed new UK anti-terrorism legislation [text] introduced in the wake of the July London bombings [JURIST news archive] that would have permited authorities to close British mosques suspected of connections with extremists. The provision [Home Office consultation paper] was withdrawn after opposition [responses to consultation paper] from British Muslim groups and other religious leaders and a statement from the Association of Chief Police Officers [official website] that the provision was not "desirable or enforceable" as presently framed. Critics of the proposal said that it would unduly confine freedome of expression and could drive extermism underground where would it would even harder to combat. In a comprehensive progress report [text] to the House of Commons on counter-terrorism the Clarke said that he would consult on an unspecified "new power to order closure of a place of worship which is used as a centre for fomenting extremism", but that he would not legislate on the subject at this time. AP has more. From London, the Independent has local coverage.

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