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Last Updated: Friday, 15 July, 2005, 12:35 GMT 13:35 UK
Suicide bomb views 'were tested'
The BBC has received complaints about a Newsnight debate looking at the Muslim community's response to the London bombings.

A number of viewers were unhappy at what they saw as participants being allowed to condone some attacks without being properly challenged.

Newsnight editor Peter Barron responds to the criticisms.

Last night's item looking at the response within the Muslim community in Britain to the London attacks provoked a number of complaints.

The item consisted of a personal, authored film by Dr Azzam Tamimi of the Muslim Association of Britain, followed by a discussion among three British Muslims with very different perspectives.

Peter Barron
Peter Barron says controversial views were challenged

The purpose of the item was to respond to an authored film shown on Newsnight a couple of nights earlier made by David Frum, George Bush's former speechwriter, which gave a neo-conservative, pro-Israeli perspective, and we pointed this out in the introduction.

Dr Tamimi made a film which condemned the London attacks but pointed to causes of Muslim anger, including policy towards Palestine and Iraq.

The discussion which followed featured Dr Tamimi and two very different shades of Muslim opinion - Asghar Bukhari of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee and Mohammed Shahid Raza of the UK Council of Mosques.

Most of the discussion dealt with the approach of the Muslim community to extremism.

Mr Bukhari is a young moderate Muslim who was outspokenly critical of what he saw as the imams' failure to curb extremism in Muslim communities.

In the course of the interview we put to Dr Tamimi a quote which he had given in the past which supported suicide bombing in Israel and asking how that squared with his condemnation of the London attacks.

He defended his position strongly.

We then put the same point to Mr Bukhari who, perhaps surprisingly given the modernising and moderate tone of his contribution until that point, said that he agreed entirely.

Gavin rightly pressed both contributors on the apparent contradiction in condemning suicide bombing in Britain but condoning it in Israel.

I don't think it is right to say that these controversial views went unchallenged.

I believe it was legitimate to stage an intra-Muslim debate in response to the London attacks, and revealing to show that some of even the most moderate Muslims support the notion of suicide bombing in the context of Israel.



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13 Jul 05 |  Notes

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