Britain Won’t Target Extremist Mosques

AP, Dec. 15, 2005

LONDON—The British government Thursday dropped a key part of the anti-terrorism legislation proposed after the deadly July 7 suicide bombings on London’s transit system, abandoning its effort to let police shut down extremist mosques.

The plan, introduced a month after four suspected suicide bombers killed 52 bus and Underground passengers, had been criticized by police and religious organizations.

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The Association of Chief Police Officers also opposed the idea, saying it risked alienating ordinary Muslims and driving extremism underground.

The Rev. Graham Sparkes of the Baptist Union of Great Britain said Baptists had suffered persecution and imprisonment in the past in their efforts to “secure control over what was preached, where it could be preached, and who could preach.”

“We would be very sensitive toward any proposals that put these hard won freedoms under threat,” Sparkes said in a statement to the government.

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