Home Secretary, Theresa May has made public her plans to ban two Muslim “extremist” groups under UK terrorism laws.
May intends on banning UK-based Minbar Ansar Deen and Nigerian-based Boko Haram under the Terrorism Act 2000.
She plans to lay an order which, if approved by parliament, will proscribe both organisations from operating in the UK from midnight on Friday morning.
The ban under terrorism laws will make membership and support of the two groups a criminal offence.
Minbar Ansar Deen
Minbar Ansar Deen also known as “Ansar al-Shariah UK” is an online blog based in Britain which according to the Home Office promotes “terrorism” by distributing “extremist” literature and openly encouraging Muslims to travel abroad to engage in jihad.
It states on their website: “Minbar Ansar ul Deen is an Islamic blog, set up by students of Islamic knowledge in an effort to spread the call of Islam to mankind so that the purpose of life (which is to worship Allah by following all His commands in every sphere of our lives, as society or individuals, in accordance to the teachings of His final Messenger Muhammad and staying away from polytheism and its adherents) maybe fulfilled throughout the whole earth.
“Also in light of the unjust wars waged against the Muslim Ummah in various lands, Minbar Ansar intends to expose the (foreign policies) atrocities, double standards and deceptions being committed by the west as lead by America and her puppets in the east”.
The group states that “articles and videos on the site features prominent scholars and activists who have spoken out against these crimes”.
It also clearly states on their blog that the posting of any individuals’ works does not mean the group endorse the views and opinions of that individual.
The British government said its reasons for banning Boko Haram, an jihadist group which aspires to establish Shariah law in Nigeria, would “prevent the group from operating in the UK and give the police powers to tackle any UK-based support for the group”.
Boko Haram is currently fighting the Nigerian army in the north of the country in an ongoing battle that has caught the attention of world leaders including US President Barack Obama.
The group is also active in Northern Cameroon, Niger and Chad. Boko Haram is proscribed as a terrorist organisation by the US State Department which has issued a $7 million reward for the capture of their leader, Abubakar Shekau.
The jihadi group has been accused by the Nigerian government for carrying out numerous terrorist attacks which have resulted in the deaths of hundreds of civilians and notable politicians.
Terrorism Act 2000
The Home Office and Theresa May have highlighted that the decision to ban the organisations are “unrelated” to the murder of British soldier, Lee Rigby who was killed in Woolwich, South-east London in May.
The penalties for proscription offences can be a maximum of 10 years in prison or a £5,000 fine.
Under the Terrorism Act 2000, Theresa May can proscribe an organisation if the Home Office believes them to be “concerned in terrorism”. However, ministers must take into account the threat the groups pose to Britain’s national security before going ahead and proscribing an organisation.
If approved by parliament, it will be a criminal offence to belong or associate with Minbar Ansar Deen or Boko Haram, which also include arranging meetings or wearing clothes that show support of them.
Other banned groups under the UK Terrorism Act 2000 include Al-Qaida, Al-Shabab, Al Muhajiroun and Islam4UK.