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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 August 2005, 02:14 GMT 03:14 UK
UK bombers home grown - Musharraf
Pervez Musharraf
General Musharraf says Britain has been 'too soft' on radical preachers
Pakistan's president has insisted the 7 July London bombers were radicalised in Britain and not in his country.

General Pervez Musharraf rejected suggestions that Pakistan played a "pivotal role" in the bombings.

He said the suicide bombers who killed 52 people may have picked up "some tips" in Pakistan, but stressed that their "mindset changed in the UK".

He also suggested the 7 July bombers were "not experts" and that the attack must have been masterminded by someone.

Radicalisation took place back at home, wherever they live, in whatever condition
Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf

"Certainly those four boys who killed themselves...were not experts in handling bombs and handling a complex operation like timing explosives and all that.

"So I'm sure there must be a brain behind it," Gen Musharraf told BBC2 documentary The New al-Qaeda, broadcast on Monday evening.

The fact that at least two of the 7 July bombers had visited Pakistan led to the investigation abroad focussing on the country.

And, after the attacks, Tony Blair called on Pakistan to crack down on extremists in religious schools.

"Even if they visited Pakistan, and they contacted some extremists here, the reality is that they have been in the UK for 20 years," Gen Musharraf said.


"The indoctrination, the mindset did not change here. The mindset changed in the UK.

"They may have got some tips or some.. anything, that is the only possibility in Pakistan...this radicalisation did not take place in the last visits of theirs in a few months.

"Radicalisation took place back at home, wherever they live, in whatever condition and whoever they've been meeting and interacting with."

Gen Musharraf also said he was surprised that moves had not been made earlier to clamp down on radical Islamic clerics.

Speaking before Mr Blair set out new anti-terror plans, he pointed out that both the Hizb ut-Tahrir and Al Muhajiroun organisations, both set to be banned, had passed edicts that he should be killed.

He suggested ministers had feared a violent backlash if they acted to ban these groups.

'Too soft'

"One tends to not take those bold decisions till something very bad happens."

"That's the unfortunate reality...we don't want to disturb the environment, we don't want to... but I think prudence demands that we take tough decisions - foresee what it could lead to."

Asked if he believed the British government had been "too soft" in its approach to extremist preachers and organisations, he replied: "Yes, I think so, absolutely."

He said that in the short term it was vital to stop mosques being used to "pollute the minds of people towards extremism, towards hate".

In Pakistan, the president has ordered all foreign students to leave and for the religious schools - or madrassas - to register with the government.

More than 600 people have been detained by the police in a crackdown on extremists in the past two weeks.

Gen Musharraf took power in a military coup in 1999 and has declared himself the implacable foe of Islamic extremism.

Hear Pakistan's president talking about the London bombings

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