The Churches' Commission for Racial Justice (CCRJ) has expressed fears that new legislation being rushed through parliament could damage race relations and result in many innocent people being jailed indefinitely. CCRJ Moderator, the Rt Rev Roger Sainsbury said: "While supporting any government legislation to outlaw terrorists, we are deeply concerned that this new measure could have a negative effect on race relations, especially on those seeking asylum. In Christian tradition, the example of Jesus, who as crucified unjustly because he was thought by some in authority to be a friend of the Zealots (religious terrorists) reminds us not to impose injustice on the innocent, as this bill could." The secretary of CCRJ, Rev Arlington Trotman said: "We are concerned that, without sufficient consultation, the government's response to the events of 11 September could lead to the introduction of laws that instigate religious or racial discrimination, offend civil liberties and undermine the human rights of those seeking asylum. In order to be effective, this bill which proposes to scrap the right to judicial review and detain suspects indefinitely, would necessarily mean the imprisonment without trial of those who visibly appear to be 'terrorists' because of the colour of their colour, ethnicity or culture." He said: "While it is understood that steps are taken to protect national security and all people for whole the government is responsible, it is also unacceptable that the government, could now seek to opt out of the European Convention on Human Rights, particularly Article Five - which prevents the indefinite detention of suspected terrorists - in order to achieve its purpose. Legislation should not be hurried through without sufficient consultation and debate, because it could put at greater risk national security considerations and the advances made in race relations in the UK." The CCRJ is a commission of Churches Together in Britain.
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