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November 28, 2002

Livingstone sues Muslim group

One of the many benefits of living in a democracy is that you can when need be go to the courts to keep some semblence of law and order
London’s Mayor Ken Livingstone is to take legal action against an extremist Islamic group that defied his ban on its rally in Trafalgar Square last summer.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, Mr Livingstone said that after receiving legal advice, he had been advised that the Greater London Authority had a good legal case against Al-Muhajiroun, the organisers of the demonstration.

Lawyers were “preparing papers” to be served on the group, which the mayor described as being virulently anti-Semitic.

Despite Mr Livingstone’s rejecting Al-Muhajiroun’s application to hold a demonstration at Trafalgar Square in August, it went ahead. The rally attracted about 600 protesters, and several scuffles broke out.

Criticising the organisation, Mr Livingstone said: “This group poses as an Islamic organisation, but its views are rejected by the vast majority of Muslims in Britain, who are repelled by their aggressive actions and vicious anti-Semitism.

“I gave a commitment that if they went ahead with the rally, I would seek to prosecute, and I have instructed our lawyers that summonses should be served.”

The decision brought rare praise for the mayor from GLA Conservative members. Brian Coleman, member for Barnet and Camden, said: “It is imperative that a clear message is sent out to anti-Semitic organisations such as Al Muhajiroun that their activities will not be sanctioned by the London government.”