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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 July, 2004, 14:10 GMT 15:10 UK
Police seek CPS advice on cleric
Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi
The cleric says he doesn't understand why there is controversy
The Metropolitan Police have passed a file containing controversial comments by Islamic cleric Yusuf Al-Qaradawi to the Crown Prosecution Service.

A police spokeswoman confirmed a complaint was received on Wednesday alleging some of his comments "amounted to incitement to racial hatred".

The Egyptian-born cleric has sparked outrage by openly supporting suicide bombing in Israel and Iraq in speeches.

The police said "eminent members of the Jewish community" had contacted them.

Tough stance

Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir John Stevens said: "We are monitoring what he has said and are ensuring that these comments are taken directly to the Crown Prosecution Service.

"The anger that was created by the comments made by the individual is considerable," he added.

"I have had personal telephone calls from eminent members of the Jewish community."

Sheikh Al-Qaradawi - who is due to speak at several events in the UK - claimed Islam justified suicide bombings in during an interview on BBC 2's Newsnight this week.

In the interview he claimed suicide bombings were "martyrdom in the name of God".

The Muslim Council of Britain and some other individual Muslim groups in the UK have publicly distanced themselves from the comments, denying the killing of innocent people is ever justifiable.

Opposing sides

Pressure has been exerted on the government to deport the fundamentalist Islamic cleric, but Prime Minister Tony Blair said in the Commons on Wednesday that any action against him must be justified by law.

Leader of the opposition, Michael Howard, told the House the cleric "backs child suicide bombings and is banned from the US because of his alleged terrorist links".

He questioned why Sheikh Al-Qaradawi was allowed to enter the UK in the first place.

The cleric recently spoke at the European Council of Fatwa and Research in London's City Hall, hosted by Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone.

Palestinian suicide bombings were the last resort for an oppressed people and expressed surprise that his visit had caused controversy, Sheikh Al-Qaradawi.

"For over a third of a century I have been visiting London.

"London is an open city, so why is there this row when I visit London today?" he asked.

The BBC's Daniel Sandford
"Police are taking the complaint seriously"

Is Islamophobia affecting the UK?
08 Jun 04  |  Have Your Say

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