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Boris Johnson dismisses calls for burqa ban

Boris Johnson has questioned whether burqas should be allowed in British classrooms and courts, but stopped short of suggesting a ban altogether.

The debate into the full-face veil has reopened after terror suspect Mohammed Ahmed Mohammed managed to evade surveillance by leaving a London mosque wearing a burqa that covered his face and body.

Terror suspect Mohammed Ahmed Mohammed changed into a burqa to evade survelliance.

"I certainly think it's a bit much to ask teachers or judges to deal with people who have their faces covered," he told listeners to his regular phone-in on LBC.

"That seems to me to not be how we do things in this country and it is absolutely reasonable to say that face veils, burkas, whatever, should not be acceptable in state-funded classrooms in this country and nor should they be acceptable in the system of British justice."

However, the London Mayor stated his belief that authorities should not ban items of dress altogether, and suggested that you "might as well ban balaclavas and ski masks" if the burqa was banned.

Calls for tougher terror controls after 'absurd' escape

London Mayor Boris Johnson has called for tougher controls over terror suspects after the "absurd" escape of Mohammed Ahmed Mohammed who managed to evade surveillance by wearing a burqa.

Mr Johnson told LBC radio that it was clear that Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (Tpims) were not working as they should if a "fellow can get into a burqa and evade his invigilators".

The mayor said it was clear to him - though unconfirmed by the police - that Mohamed had been able to contact supporters to help him escape, despite being under the order.

Boris Johnson has called for terror laws to be reviewed after a suspect escaped surveillance by changing into a burqa Credit: PA Wire

"This guy Mohamed was obviously helped to escape. I don't believe for a minute that he did it on his own. He was in contact with people who are sympathisers."

"Characters such as him - and even if he doesn't pose an immediate threat to this country, it is plain he is a danger - should be more closely invigilated than they currently are and I am sure that is a point that Theresa May will be taking up very actively."

Mr Johnson blamed "coalition politics" for watering down the previous control order system and urged Home Secretary Theresa May to be tough with the Liberal Democrats over the policy.

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Terror suspect 'cleared of tag tamper on day of escape'

Terror suspect Mohammed Ahmed Mohamed is believed to have been cleared of tampering with his electronic monitoring tag on the day he went missing from a mosque, the Press Association reported

A terror suspect who escaped surveillance is believed to have been cleared of tampering with his monitoring tag on the day he went missing. Credit: PA

It is understood the 27-year-old Somalian Mohammed was cleared at the Old Bailey of tampering with his tag on the day he disappeared, disguised as a burqa-wearing woman to escape surveillance.

The independent reviewer of terrorism legislation had revealed that criminal charges were dropped on Friday against a number of Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (Tpim) subjects for allegedly tampering with security tags, but did not specify whether Mohamed was one of those involved.

The Crown Prosecution Service would not comment on named individuals but said in a statement that the cases of three Tpim subjects had recently been discontinued. There were outstanding alleged offences against one of the three, known as CC, who is due to stand trial in April, they added.

Terror suspect bought five sim cards in last two weeks

Shopkeeper Sunny Kapoor has told ITV News missing terror suspect Mohammed Ahmed Mohamed bought five mobile sim cards from him in two weeks.

Acton shopkeeper Sunny Kapoor speaks to ITV News. Credit: ITV News

He said: "When you showed me the photo I recognised the person because last week he came to me and buy [sic] a couple of mobile simcards…

"...First he came one day and buy from me two sim cards and second time he came for two and third time he came for another mobile sim card. Five sim cards from me. Recently, in the last couple of weeks."

Mosque: Incident bears no semblance to work we do

Leaders of the Annoor Cultural and Community Centre in Acton, where terror suspect Mohammed Ahmed Mohamed evaded surveillance officers, by leaving the centre wearing a burqa covering his face and body, have given a statement to the media.

Juma Biahari, who sits on the management committee of the mosque said: "We want to place on record the recent incident bears no semblance to the work we do as an organisation for the development of the community at large."

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Cooper: Suspect has walked away in a simple disguise

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper has questioned Theresa's May statement that absconded terror suspect Mohammed Ahmed Mohamed was not a direct threat to the UK.

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper. Credit: ITV News

She told MPs: "The Home Secretary says he poses no direct threat, even though he is widely reported in the media to have attended terror training camps, to have procured weapons and planned attacks.

"He has walked away from a terror suspect order in a very simple disguise and the Home Secretary has no idea where he is.

"This is the second man in 10 months subject to a Tpim who has now absconded. There were only 10 of them to start with and two have now gone. One in a black cab, one is a disguise."

She adds the Home Secretary has made it easier for terror suspects to disappear.

May: Terror suspect is not a direct threat to the UK

Home Secretary Theresa May is making a statement to the House of Commons regarding the absconded terror suspect Mohammed Ahmed Mohamed.

Home Secretary Theresa May has given a statement to the House of Commons. Credit: ITV News

Briefing MPs of developments, she said: "The police and security service have confirmed that they do not believe that this man poses a direct threat to the public in the UK. The reason he was put on a Tpim in the first place was to prevent his travel to support terrorism overseas."

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