Sanity, in an update on this story. Authorities would do well to ensure Islam4UK does not merely reconstitute itself under a new name, starting a slow-moving, but high-stakes game of “whack-a-mole” with successor groups. “Muslim Group Cancels Wootton Bassett March,” by Adam Arnold for Sky News, January 10 (thanks to Gymgal):
Muslim group Islam4UK has cancelled controversial plans to hold an anti-war march through Wootton Bassett – the town which honours repatriated British soldiers.
The Islamic organisation’s proposals had received widespread criticism, with Prime Minister Gordon Brown condemning the proposed demonstration as “abhorrent and offensive.”
MPs had urged local authorities and the Home Secretary Alan Johnson to step in to prevent the procession in the Wiltshire town.
And more than 185,000 people signed up to a Facebook page opposing the plans.
Islam4UK said the march was aimed at highlighting the plight of Muslims in Afghanistan and it said it had done this “successfully”.
In a statement, leader Anjem Choudary also said the group had engaged with thousands of ordinary people through its website and via blogs, phone calls and emails on the reality of the conflict.
But it added: “We at Islam4UK have decided, after consultation with others including our Sheikh Omar Bakri Muhammad, that no more could be achieved even if a procession were to take place in Wootton Bassett.
“And in light of this we would like to announce today that there will no longer be a procession through this market town.”…
And the banning: “UK to ban controversial Islamist group,” from CNN, January 10 (thanks again to Gymgal):
London, England (CNN) — Britain is set to ban a Muslim group that recently caused outrage by proposing a demonstration in the town that receives the bodies of British war dead killed abroad, the Home Office said Sunday.
The ban would prevent Al-Muhajiroun, also known as Islam4UK, from having meetings or raising money. Attending a meeting or being a member of Al-Muhajiroun or Islam4UK would be a criminal offense, a Home Office spokesman said. The spokesman declined to be named, in line with government policy.
“Proscription is a tough but necessary power to tackle terrorism,” said the Home Office, which is responsible for domestic security in the United Kingdom.
Two offshoots of Al-Muhajiroun, Al-Ghurabaa and Saviour Sect Group, were banned in July 2006.
The ban should come into force in a matter of “days, not weeks,” the spokesman said. It would require approval from both houses of Parliament.
The group’s leader, controversial British Muslim cleric Anjem Choudary, has been threatening to stage a march as a protest against the war in Afghanistan.
Choudary — informed of the government’s plans by CNN — said the Home Office could not shut him down.
“We’re not going to stop because the government bans an organization,” he told CNN by phone. “If that means setting up another platform under another label, then so be it.”
A ban “will just make the use of those names … illegal, but Muslims everywhere are obliged to work collectively to establish the Islamic State and Sharia law in the UK or wherever they are — those things can’t change,” he added.
Asked if he was surprised or disappointed by the decision, Choudary said “No, not at all, we expect this and much more than that.”
His Web site appeared to have been shut down as of Sunday, apparently by Islam4UK itself.
In place of a full Web site, Islam4UK.com now contains only a new, relatively conciliatory letter posted Saturday and labeled “An Appeal to Families of British Soldiers to have an Honest Dialogue,” and a note saying “Islam4UK Back Soon.”…