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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 February 2006, 12:13 GMT
Protester is returned to prison
Omar Khayam
Omar Khayam was still on licence at the time of his protest
A demonstrator who imitated a suicide bomber in a Muslim protest over cartoons satirising the Prophet Muhammad has been recalled to prison.

Omar Khayam, 22, of Bedford, is a convicted drug dealer who was jailed in 2002 and released on licence last year after serving half his sentence.

He was arrested and recalled to prison for breaching the terms of his licence.

Khayam apologised for his "insensitive" protest on Monday but said he had been offended by the cartoons.

A Bedfordshire Police spokesman said Khayam was arrested under the Criminal Justice Act 2003 at the request of the Home Office.

He was given five and a half years in prison in December 2002 for dealing cocaine and heroin.

Khayam apologised to those affected by the 7 July bombs, saying his protest was as "insensitive" as the cartoons.

This was a impulsive, foolish reaction to what he saw was the offence of the publication of those cartoons
Patrick Hall
MP for Bedford

The MP for Bedford, Patrick Hall, who was there as Khayam read the apology on Monday, said earlier he was unaware he was out on licence but that he still took the apology at face value.

"He acted on impulse - couple of friends, they got on the train and got to London, and I believe this was a impulsive, foolish reaction to what he saw was the offence of the publication of those cartoons."

The demonstration outside London's Danish embassy on Friday and Saturday mirrored protests throughout Europe and Asia over the cartoons, which were first printed in a Danish paper.

Anti-Danish protests have been repeated across the Muslim world this week, and have led to at least five deaths in Afghanistan and one in Somalia.

Omar Khayam dressed as a suicide bomber
He apologised for dressing as a suicide bomber

Prime Minister Tony Blair said he was pleased that "leading members of the Muslim community have expressed their abhorrence along with everyone else in the country" to placards held during the London protest, some calling for beheadings.

"In my view, there is a real issue about how the sensible, moderate, Muslim leaders go into their community and confront this type of extremism and that's something we discuss with them continually," Mr Blair told a select committee.

He said police would have the government's full support "in any prosecutions they mount".

Police have been criticised for not making any arrests on the day, but Mr Blair said: "It is very important for our overall good relations in this country that people understand there's no political correctness that should keep the police from taking whatever action they think is necessary and that is my position 100%."

Khayam gave an explanation of his appearance as he apologised on Monday.

"I found the pictures deeply offensive as a Muslim and I felt the Danish newspaper had been provocative and controversial, deeply offensive and insensitive."


Meanwhile, one man has said he and a second man were arrested during the London demonstration as he attempted to mount a counter-demonstration.

The man, named only as John, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that he was arrested as he handed out leaflets with the cartoons printed on them.

The Metropolitan Police said two men were arrested on suspicion of breach of the peace, but no further action was taken.

Publication of one of the cartoons by a Welsh student newspaper has prompted the Cardiff students' union to apologise for any offence caused.

The editor and three student journalists from Gair Rhydd newspaper were suspended.

Listen to Omar Khayam's apology

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