The public gallery at an inquiry over Dudley’s controversial _18million mosque plans will be limited to just 50 seats. Those who want to be at the hearing, scheduled to start on June 10 at 10am and last four-days, are now being urged to arrive early for a seat. The inquiry is being held after Dudley Muslim Association lodged an appeal against the council’s decision to reject their plans for for a mosque and community centre on derelict land in Hall Street. A total of 70 petitions containing more than 22,000 signatures have been handed to the council from people protesting against the plans. There is expected to be scores of people vying to be in the public gallery but the council will have to turn some away. People wishing to speak during the course of the inquiry are also warned they need to contact the council by June 7 to register their intention or they will not be allowed to have their voice heard. Dudley Council spokesman Phil Parker said: “The inspectorate, however, makes it clear that if there are several people with the same views a spokesperson should be appointed to speak on behalf of the others to avoid repetition of arguments.” At the start of the inquiry the inspector will outline the formal procedure. The barrister appointed by Dudley Muslim Association will make a number of opening remarks followed by the council’s barrister. Witnesses for both parties will give evidence and will be open to cross examination. After closing statements, the inspector will close the inquiry and then carry out a site visit, during which there will be no further discussion.http://themuslimweekly.com/newsdetails/fullstoryview.aspx?NewsID=5E054DF78C183F2420D2E0C6&MENUID=HOMENEWS&DESCRIPTION=UK%20News
An exhibition of works made in British prisons offers a glimpse into the lives of 40 Muslim men who were held without charge after 9/11. Victoria Brittain tells their stories: When much of this artwork was made, in Belmarsh prison in the aftermath of the post 9/11 roundups of Muslim men who were held without trial, none of these men would have imagined that almost seven years later they would be in an even worse position. After the House of Lords ruling in December 2004 that detention without trial was unlawful, they went from Belmarsh in south-east London to a world of house arrests with stringent conditions and threatened deportations, or to Long Lartin prison in Worcestershire with bail refused thereafter to most. Seemingly endless legal appeals in the Special Immigration Appeals Tribunal (Siac) and again to the House of Lords have followed, on deportations to countries that practise torture – Algeria, Libya and Jordan – and on the conditions of the house arrests under control orders or deportation bail. Britain has become for these men not a refuge but Kafka country. Evidence against them is kept secret even from their lawyers. And the system of Siac special advocates – senior barristers who can see the secret evidence but not disclose it – has been utterly discredited since Ian MacDonald QC resigned in 2004, saying that his role was, “to provide a false legitimacy to indefinite detention without knowledge of the accusations being made and without any kind of criminal charge or trial. For me this is untenable.” Victoria Brittain reports.
The seven men – five Frenchmen, one Algerian and one Moroccan between 24 and 40 years old – were convicted of criminal asocial with a terrorist enterprise and sentenced to between 18 months and seven years in prison for helping funnel fights to Iraq’s insurgency. Most acknowledged going to Iraq after the U-S-led invasion in 2003, but denied accusations they were involved in recruiting French fighters. The judge, however, claims there was ample evidence for convictions.
Dutch prosecutors closed a case against three men arrested in New Years Eve, on suspicion of planning an imminent attack. The reason given was that there was no evidence against them. Police arrested three men after the intelligence said the suspects – Two Moroccan men and one Sudanese man, were about to carry out an unspecified act of violence. The three suspects now have the right to compensation for the time they spend in detention.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said that Spanish authorities had concrete evidence against the nine Pakistani nationals arrested for planning terrorist attacks in Spain and Europe. “The Spanish investigators have solid evidence against nine of the twelve Pakistanis arrested in Barcelona. The material used in the blast was recovered from them,” said Qureshi, in a meeting with the Senate. The twelve men were detained in mid-January of this year, and authorities believe they had been planning to carry out attacks similar to the Madrid bombings. Three suspects were released on account of no evidence against them, but nine remain in Spanish custody.
Dutch prosecutors have released a 26-year old Pakistani arrested last month on suspicion of terrorism, due to the lack of evidence. However, prosecutors added that the man will be deported back to Pakistan as an undesirable alien. The man was arrested on March 14th in the southern city of Breda. At the time, he was suspected of belonging to a cell of Islamic extremists linked to an alleged and thwarted attack in Barcelona.
Six and a half months after their initial arrests, the Crown Attorney’s office decided to level charges against nine men detained in September for planning terror actions. Two of the men are charged with making and testing bombs, and a third man is expected to be charged with inciting extremism to kidnap Danes traveling abroad. The three men are of Afghan, Turkish, and Pakistani origin; two of which are believed to have direct links to leading Al-Qaeda members. According to the Crown Attorney, the six other suspects who were arrested and then released may still face charges if additional incriminating evidence is found in ongoing investigations.
Al Qaeda has begun an online propaganda campaign, targeting German-speaking Muslims with increasing amounts of terror-related content, German security officials have told CNN. And while there is no evidence of specific plans against Germany and Austria, German State Secretary of the Interior August Hanning has said he is worried that the authorities “will not be able to thwart all terror plots in the future.” Jihadist videos obtained by CNN, and narrated and subtitled in German, call on German-speaking Muslims to join the “Holy War” against what they call an “American led coalition against Islam that Germany and Austria are a part of. CNN has also seen excerpts of what German intelligence officials say is a 16-hour long, professionally produced bomb-making tutorial. Watch report on the terror videos.
A rightwing thinktank which claimed to have uncovered extremist literature on sale at dozens of British mosques was last night accused of basing a report on fabricated evidence. The report by Policy Exchange alleged that books condoning violent jihad and encouraging hatred of Christians, Jews and gays were being sold in a quarter of the 100 mosques visited. But BBC2’s Newsnight said examination of receipts provided by the researchers to verify their purchases showed some had been written by the same person – even though they purported to come from different mosques. Martin Hodgson reports.
Five men have been arrested in the cities of Toulouse and Lot, under suspicion of helping recruit Islamic extremist fighters for combat missions in Iraq. The men are accused of providing combat training and supplying material assistance, though a search of their homes did not turn up any evidence. The men were arrested in a joint mission by both French and Belgian police.