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Saturday, 14 October, 2000, 15:14 GMT 16:14 UK
UK Muslims urged to fight Israel
Palestinian protesters burn the Israeli flag at a refugee camp in the Gaza strip
Palestinian protesters burn the Israeli flag at a refugee camp in the Gaza strip
A Syrian-born activist has called for Muslims in Britain to join a holy war against Israel following the outbreak of violence between Palestinians and Israelis in the Middle East.

Sheik Omar Bakri Mohammed said it was the duty of all Muslims to give support to the Palestinians.

"They are obliged to support their Muslim brothers in Palestine by raising funds, giving them complete moral support and even some of them going abroad to be joined with their Muslim brothers fighting against Israel," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

But Mr Bakri Mohammed insisted he was not calling for any action to be taken against the Jewish community in Britain.

Every Muslim has an obligation to fight against the enemy of his Muslim brothers

Sheik Omar Bakri Mohammed
"We have no problem with the Jewish community here, our real problem is with the occupying forces (in Israel)."

During the past two weeks about 100 people have been killed in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza as violence broke out between Israelis and Palestinians.

Mr Bakri Mohammed said Muslims around the world had an obligation to help the Palestinians.

"That is the duty of every Muslim who believes that he has an obligation to fight against the enemy of his Muslim brothers," he said.

"We are talking about a cancer in the heart of the Muslim world and that is Israel," Mr Bakri Mohammed said.

"It must be eradicated and removed."

Mr Bakri Mohammed is the founder of Al-Muhajiroun.

On Friday members of the group clashed with police outside the London Central Mosque in Regents Park.

They set fire to Israeli and US flags and chanted slogans attacking both countries but police managed to contain the 250-strong crowd.

Mr Bakri Mohammed told the crowd: "All Israeli targets are legitimate for you. All Israelis must be destroyed."

The group then marched three miles to the Israeli embassy to continue their demonstrations.

"The Americans and the British governments are acting to destroy Islam," Mr Bakri Mohammed said.

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See also:

14 Oct 00 | Middle East
Mid-East leaders agree to talk
13 Oct 00 | Middle East
Israel plans media counter-attack
14 Oct 00 | Middle East
Summit blow for Arab hardliners
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