Queen Greets Abdullah as Mayor Joins Attack on Saudi Terror Links; Royal Welcome: King Abdullah Inspects the Troops in Horse Guards Parade Today with Prince Philip, above. Afterwards, as He and the Queen Were Driven Down the Mall to Buckingham Palace, Left, the King Faced Protests about Saudi Arabia's Human Rights Record and Arms Deals, Right

The Evening Standard (London, England), October 30, 2007 | Go to article overview

Queen Greets Abdullah as Mayor Joins Attack on Saudi Terror Links; Royal Welcome: King Abdullah Inspects the Troops in Horse Guards Parade Today with Prince Philip, above. Afterwards, as He and the Queen Were Driven Down the Mall to Buckingham Palace, Left, the King Faced Protests about Saudi Arabia's Human Rights Record and Arms Deals, Right


Byline: PIPPA CRERAR, NICHOLAS CECIL

MAYOR Ken Livingstone today condemned the Saudi Royal family and accusedthem of backing groups who support international terrorism.

The Mayor said the Saudis were the "principal" funders for the extremistWahhabi sect, whose followers include Osama bin Laden and the 9/11 bombers. Inan outspoken attack, he accused them of financially supporting intolerantIslam, a move bound the embarrass the Government.

His comments came as the Queen officially welcomed King Abdullah as he beganhis state visit with a troop inspection at Horseguards and a carriage ride downthe Mall.

The king, who will hold talks with Gordon Brown, had already ensured the visitgot off to a bumpy start when he criticised his hosts yesterday for Britain'sfailure to combat terrorism.

Mr Livingstone told a press conference at City Hall that it was "a bit Fahd'sex-wife rich" of the Saudi monarch to claim he had tackled terrorism in his owncountry.

"Far from the Saudi royal family being a stable force in global politics, theyhave been the principal funders for the Wahhabi sect which is the mostintolerant strain of modern Islam," he said.

"That's why it was of no surprise that Osama bin Laden arose out of that strandof Islam, or that 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 shared that view.

"For the Saudi royal family now to say they have wiped out terrorism is a bitrichthey have been one of its principal sources through that funding of Wahhabismover the last five decades." Mr Livingstone also criticised ministers for"bending over backwards" to keep the Saudis happy so that they could winlucrative arms deals. …

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Queen Greets Abdullah as Mayor Joins Attack on Saudi Terror Links; Royal Welcome: King Abdullah Inspects the Troops in Horse Guards Parade Today with Prince Philip, above. Afterwards, as He and the Queen Were Driven Down the Mall to Buckingham Palace, Left, the King Faced Protests about Saudi Arabia's Human Rights Record and Arms Deals, Right
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