Senior British Muslim Warns On Terror Laws

By MICHAEL McDONOUGH LONDON – A prominent British Muslim warned lawmakers Monday that proposals for tough new anti-terror laws could undermine the Muslim community’s willingness to cooperate in fighting terror. Abdurahman Jafar, a senior member of the Muslim Council of Britain, expressed concern about the Terror Bill, which was drawn up in the wake of the July attacks on London’s transit system. The bill would extend the maximum 14-day detention for terror suspects without charge to three months, outlaw attending terrorist training camps and make it an offense to glorify or encourage terrorism. Addressing a meeting of Parliament’s joint committee on human rights, Jafar told lawmakers that he feared a “really horrific counter-productive effect” from the bill, partly because of the proposed glorification offense. He said the measure threatens to merge “the issue of illegitimate attacks against peaceful democracies, with legitimate acts of resistance against illegitimate regimes around the world.” Jafar, who is vice chairman of the legal affairs committee of the Muslim Council of Britain, also voiced concern about the plans to lengthen the detention period for terror suspects who haven’t been charged. He said the legislation risked weakening the wider Muslim community’s commitment to fight terrorism in the wake of the July 7 attacks, which killed 52 commuters and four suicide bombers, who were devout Muslims. The House of Commons voted last week to back the Terror Bill. But before the bill can become law, it faces further scrutiny by a committee of lawmakers, a further vote in the Commons, and votes in parliament’s upper chamber, the House of Lords.