Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Radicals Accuse Blair of Foreign Policy Lies, Lies and Damned Lies

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Radicals Accuse Blair of Foreign Policy Lies, Lies and Damned Lies

Article excerpt

Byline: PATRICK SAWER

A RADICAL Islamic group has used an emergency conference called in the wake of the London bombings to attack British and American foreign policy.

More than 1,000 people from across the UK gathered at the Royal National Hotel in Bloomsbury - 100 yards from the site of the 7 July bus bomb - for the meeting called "Speaking against Bush and Blair's foreign policy is not terrorism".

Speakers for the Hizb ut-Tahrir political party said the crackdown on extremist activity would provoke anger in the Muslim community - and accused Tony Blair of "lies, lies and damned lies".

The group, which has condemned the bombings but is banned in some European countries, accused the UK and US governments of silencing legitimate political expression.

It also warned that the entire Muslim community in Britain was being stigmatised as a result of the attacks.

Abdul Waheed, a senior member of the party, said: "Foreign policy anger is there, there is an attempt to silence Muslims.

"If we are not allowed to discuss the action in Afghanistan...

I fear the frustration builds up."

Dr Imran Waheed, representative of Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain, said: "The past few weeks have seen how the entire Muslim community in Britain is being held responsible for the actions of few.

"The vast majority of the Muslim community in Britain have been living for decades as decent citizens working through political means to express their concerns about events both here and abroad.

"To stigmatise and hold the entire community responsible once again reaffirms the agenda

to prevent the Muslims speaking out against the injustices in the Muslim world.

"In these times where every Muslim in the community is living in fear of harassment, arrest and possible execution, we urge people to remain united."

At the conference women and men sat separately, as they do in mosques.

Tony Blair was accused of "lies" by leaders at the conference for allying himself with oppressive Middle Eastern regimes.

Dr Waheed said Muslims had a duty to speak out against British and American foreign policy.

"Go back to your communities and go to your mosques and ask the leaders do they not think there is going to be more frustration in the Muslim community, young and old alike, if the mosques cannot be used to discuss these issues in a calm and rational way," he said.

Delegates at the conference were urged to reject calls for them to defeat extremism.

The party campaigns for a government based on Islamic Sharia across the Muslim world but claims that it would not be an oppressive regime such as the Taliban.

It is opposed to "intellectual, political, economic and military colonialism" by Western countries in the Muslim world. …

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