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Last Updated: Friday, 26 March, 2004, 10:03 GMT
Carey's Islam comments condemned
Dr George Carey
Muslim leaders are "dismayed" by Lord Carey's comments
Muslims claim a former Archbishop of Canterbury who criticised Islamic culture is "recycling" prejudice.

Speaking in Rome, Lord Carey said Islamic regimes were authoritarian and committed to power and privilege.

Lord Carey said not enough moderate Muslim leaders had condemned suicide bombers "clearly and unconditionally", the Daily Telegraph reported.

But Muslim Council of Britain secretary general Iqbal Sacranie said: "One is dismayed by Lord Carey's comments."

Statements 'ignored'

"One is surprised to find Lord Carey recycling the same old religious prejudice in the 21st Century."

The media often ignored statements condemning terrorist acts, Mr Sacranie added.

BBC religious affairs correspondent Robert Pigott said Lord Carey's speech had probably been more balanced than the impression given by the newspaper.

Whether they are military dictatorships or traditional sovereignties, each ruler seems committed to retaining power and privilege
Lord Carey
"One of the things that underlines his concern is the growth of Wahhabism - a very radical part of Islam - which is becoming quite dominant in the developing world," he told Radio 4's Today programme.

"There was also a sense when Lord Carey was archbishop, that he was growing increasingly frustrated by the problem in Islam, as he saw it, of there being something of a lack of a hierarchy where leaders could say authoritative things which could in some sense be morally binding for Muslims in general."

Lord Carey made his comments on the eve of a seminar between Christians and Muslims in New York.

"Throughout the Middle East and North Africa we find authoritarian regimes with deeply entrenched leadership, some of which rose to power at the point of a gun and are retained in power by massive investment in security forces," he was reported as saying.

"Whether they are military dictatorships or traditional sovereignties, each ruler seems committed to retaining power and privilege."

He also criticised the Islamic faith, saying Muslim theological scholarship had declined over the last 500 years, "leading to strong resistance to modernity".

Robert Piggott reports

'Find out about Islam' - vicar
10 Mar 03  |  England

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