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Anjem Choudary of Al Muhajiroun
"Russian embassies, military forces, government buildings, ministers, personnel etc are legitimate targets"
 real 28k

Monday, 13 December, 1999, 11:21 GMT
UK Muslims declare Yeltsin fatwa

The group is angry at Russia's actions against Chechen Muslims

Islamic fundamentalists in the UK have issued a death fatwa against Russian President Boris Yeltsin, over the conflict in Chechnya.

The Al Muhajiroun group said the Russian embassy in London, and similar establishments, were also "legitimate targets".

The fatwa was issued by the Shari'ah Court of the UK, following a ruling by the Beirut-based International Islamic Front.

It follows anger at Russia's attacks against fellow Muslims in the breakaway republic of Chechnya.

Yeltsin: Under threat of execution
On Monday, Russia was reported to have resumed its heavy bombardment of the Chechen capital, Grozny, following a short break.

The fatwa calls for Mr Yeltsin to be tried by an independent Islamic court and for a verdict of "capital punishment to be applied".

Anjem Choudary, an assistant judge in the Shari'ah Court, told the BBC it was a "duty" for British Muslims to support the fatwa.

Speaking on Radio 4's Today programme, he said: "The Islamic position is that it is an obligation upon every Muslim worldwide to support the jihad (holy war) against Russia, whether that be verbally, financially, politically or militarily."

He said that meant that "Russian embassies, military forces, government buildings, ministers, personnel...are legitimate targets as long as the threat of military aggression against the sanctity of Muslim life or on property in Chechnya stands."

He warned that many people would like to become "martyrs" for this cause, especially during the current holy month of Ramadan.

However, he denied that he was inciting people to commit a crime.

"I'm not going to stick my neck out and say that Muslims are going to attack the Russian embassy here, or Russian ministers, but I would put them on notice that they at this time are legitimate targets as far as Islam is concerned," he said.

Call for police inquiry

Vladimir Andrea of the Russian Embassy in London said the threats were "illegal and criminal" and should be investigated by the police.

He said Russia's action in Chechnya was an "anti-terrorist" operation, and denied that it was hitting civilians.

A fatwa is a religious decree issued by a recognised Islamic scholar, or other authorised leaders.

The order should only be carried out by an Islamic state, which rules out action against Mr Yeltsin in the UK or in Russia.

But if he travels to an Islamic state, then he would risk arrest and execution.

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See also:
05 Oct 98 |  South Asia
Call to outlaw death fatwas
29 Oct 99 |  UK
Fatwa for 'gay Jesus' writer
23 Nov 97 |  Religion
Muslims in Britain
26 Aug 98 |  UK
Islamic groups based in Britain
13 Dec 99 |  Europe
Grozny attacks resume

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