INTERNATIONAL

Britain to deport more clerics

Hasan Suroor

LONDON: In a further crackdown on extremists following last month's attacks on London, more Muslim clerics are to be deported from Britain under new government powers to expel any immigrant whose presence is seen to be "not conducive to public good.''

Home Secretary Charles Clarke, who last week ordered the expulsion of 10 suspected extremist preachers, has said more expulsions were in the offing. Anyone suspected of preaching hate would be liable to be detained and sent back to their country of origin.

"We are continuing to look at people in this country whose presence here is not conducive to public good,'' Mr. Clarke said adding that a list of such people was being prepared.

The list, to be finalised by the weekend, follows a two-week consultation with the Muslim community and other concerned groups.

"After that we will still be looking at further steps that need to be taken to ensure that those people who are working against the interests of this country are properly dealt with,'' he said.

Spreading net

The net is to be spread widely to cover a range of people, including imams and owners of "radical'' bookshops and Web sites, suspected of provoking, justifying or glorifying extremist ideas that could lead to terrorism.

Among the 10, who have already been detained pending deportation, is Abu Qatada, a controversial Jordanian cleric with alleged links to Al-Qaeda. Another radical preacher, Omar Bakri Mohammed, has been banned from Britain and stripped of his permanent residency status.

Mr. Clarke warned that more attacks were not ruled out saying it would be "absolutely foolish'' to claim that the threat was over. His remarks came two days after U.S. intelligence agencies were reported as saying terrorists were planning attacks on petrol stations in London.

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