Here’s something very silly.
The organisation Muslims Against Crusades will be banned from operating in the UK from midnight, the Home Secretary has said.
Theresa May said she was satisfied the group was “simply another name for an organisation already proscribed under a number of names” including Al Ghurabaa, The Saved Sect, Al Muhajiroun and Islam4UK.
“The organisation was proscribed in 2006 for glorifying terrorism and we are clear it should not be able to continue these activities by simply changing its name,” she said.
Mrs May said on Thursday: “I have today laid an order which will proscribe Muslims Against Crusades from midnight tonight.
“This means being a member of, or supporting the organisation, will be a criminal offence.”
Anjem Choudary, who describes himself as a press spokesman for the extremist group, said the decision was a “bid by the Government to cover up the truth”.
He said he did not know if a “Hell for Heroes” demonstration against Remembrance commemorations would now go ahead.
Responding to the Government’s announcement, he said: “I think it is an abject failure of democracy and it is a victory for Sharia Muslims. The truth is something the Government would rather silence.”
The demonstration was due to take place outside the Royal Albert Hall, the same location where a poppy was burned last year.
No Muslims Against Crusades members were arrested in the build-up to the announcement from Mrs May.
The JC reminds us:
A fortnight ago members of Muslims Against Crusades targeted Finchley and Golders Green MP Mike Freer over his opposition to Palestinian activist Sheikh Raed Salah and membership of Conservative Friends of Israel.
We’ve been here before. Multiple times.
As of Thursday it will be a criminal offence to be a member of Islam4UK, punishable by up to ten years in prison.
Alan Johnson said that the group – which is already banned under two of its other aliases – had tried to escape proscription by changing its name, but that the updated banning order would extend to the group’s most recent titles.
“I have today laid an order which will proscribe al-Muhajiroun, Islam4UK, and a number of the other names the organisation goes by,” Mr Johnson said.
“It is already proscribed under two other names – al-Ghurabaa and The Saved Sect.
“Proscription is a tough but necessary power to tackle terrorism and is not a course we take lightly. We are clear that an organisation should not be able to circumvent proscription by simply changing its name.”
However, Muslims Against Crusades is precisely the same organisation as Al Muhajroun, Al Ghurabba, The Saved Sect, and Islam4UK. Its members are the same people. Its politics is identical. It campaigns in the same way. All that changes, each time, is its name.
I’ve discussed this issue with a number of criminal lawyers. All agree that a mere change of name does not transform a banned organisation into one which is lawful. Given that Al Muhajiroun believes that its politics are divinely dictated, and given that they have a pretty fixed view of what God requires them to do, it shouldn’t be impossible to show that this is so.
Either it isn’t possible to escape a ban by changing a group’s name – in which case, a criminal case should be brought against Muslims Against Crusades as a reincarnation of other banned groups – or it is.
If the Government believes it is possible to circumvent a ban by changing a group’s name, then there’s no point in introducing a new banning order. Is there?