Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

INSULT TO THE VICTIMS OF 7/7; Muslim Who Backs Suicide Bombs to Speak in London 24 Hours before the First Anniversary

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

INSULT TO THE VICTIMS OF 7/7; Muslim Who Backs Suicide Bombs to Speak in London 24 Hours before the First Anniversary

Article excerpt

Byline: ROBERT MENDICK

A MUSLIM scholar who condones suicide bombers is the main speaker at a London conference this week.

The event starts on Thursday - the day before the first anniversary of the 7 July attacks carried out by Islamist extremists.

It has the backing of Ken Livingstone and Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell and is designed to show the Islamic religion in a positive light.

Most of speakers at the IslamExpo event are not remotely controversial.

But the platform provided for Dr Azzam Tamimi, a Palestinian-born radical, has sparked outrage.

Dr Tamimi said in an interview with the BBC six months before 7/7 that he was prepared to go to Israel and carry out a suicide bombing. He has also praised suicide bombers as "martyrs".

John Falding, whose partner Anat Rosenberg died in the attacks last year, said today: "He may not say anything-radical at the expo but given what he has said in the past, it is rather insensitive he should be on the platform.

It is very upsetting.

"He may be only one speaker out of thousands but he naturally is going to colour the whole perception of the event.

"Even at this late stage they should do something about it and perhaps suggest he speaks at a public meeting at some other time. The timing is all wrong."

Louise Ellman, Labour MP and a vice-chair of Labour Friends of Israel, used parliamentary privilege to denounce Dr Tamimi in the Commons two years ago.

She said today: "I think it is of great concern that somebody who has stated on British television

that they support suicide attacks on other countries should be here speaking to the public in London at this sensitive time. If Dr Tamimi wanted to act responsibly, he would utter an absolute condemnation of suicide bombing without qualification."

Andrew Dismore, MP for Hendon and also vice-chair of Labour Friends for Israel, said: "It shows a huge degree of insensitivity." Dr Tamimi told the Standard he condemned the London bombings but stood by his comments that he would be prepared to become a suicide bomber in Israel. "If the Israelis are killing women and children what do you expect the Palestinians to do? …

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