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Last Updated: Saturday, 22 November, 2003, 02:33 GMT
Minister's warning angers Muslims
Denis MacShane
MacShane amended parts of the speech
A Foreign Office minister has stood by his demand that UK Muslim leaders condemn terrorist attacks more clearly.

Denis MacShane toned down his speech to Labour activists after it was leaked and provoked anger among senior Muslims who branded it "disgraceful".

But he maintained that Muslim leaders should use "stronger language".

Earlier, former minister Clare Short said Thursday's bombings in Turkey which killed 50 people were caused by a mishandling of the war in Iraq.

'War recruits bombers'

Ms Short told GMTV that people who were angry about the Middle East were being "thrown into" al Qaeda's arms.

She said it had acted as a "recruiting sergeant" for terrorists.

Community leaders insisted that law-abiding citizens had always spoken out against terror attacks.

We do not need lectures from a representative of a government that has conducted an unlawful war against Iraq
Inayat Bunglawala
Mr McShane's speech in his Rotherham constituency was reported in advance after it was distributed by his office.

Anas Altikriti, director of communications for the Muslim Association of Britain, said: "It is an outrage and extremely disgraceful."

Mr MacShane admitted he had altered his speech before he delivered it on Friday night.

He said: "I did tone it down slightly... but in my view I did not change it overall. "

'Two options'

In it, he said the elected and community leaders of British Muslims had to make a choice.

"It is the democratic, rule-of-law, if you like the British, American or Turkish way, based on political dialogue and non-violent protest like the one in London yesterday.

"Or it is the way of the terrorist against which the whole democratic world is uniting."

Mr MacShane welcomed the repeated condemnation by Muslim leaders of the suicide bombers.

We all condemn terrorism. These people are not doing it in the name of religion. They are doing it out of fundamentalis
Mahroof Hussain

But he kept a passage in which he called for "clearer, stronger language" that there is no future for any Muslim cause anywhere in the world that supports the use of political violence.

Inayat Bunglawala, spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain, said: "The Muslim community has consistently condemned terrorism and we condemn this latest attack on the British consulate and HSBC in Turkey."

He said: "The attacks only emphasise that the disastrous war in Iraq has not reduced the risk of terrorism, as our own governments had us believe beforehand, but has exacerbated it.

"We do not need lectures from a representative of a government that has conducted an unlawful war against Iraq".

But Rotherham Labour councillor Mahroof Hussain said Mr MacShane had his support and was well respected in the Muslim community.


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