London mayor defends Muslims as bomb plot foiled

LONDON (AFP) – London Mayor Ken Livingstone called on Britons Saturday not to demonize Muslims after a double car bomb plot was foiled in the capital, amid fears of a Islamist terror threat.

At the same time he criticized Britain over its ties with Saudi Arabia, which he said had fuelled intolerance in the past through its Wahhabist form of Islam, creating a “major problem.”

“In this city, Muslims are more likely to be law-abiding than non-Muslims and less likely to support the use of violence to achieve political ends than non-Muslims,” he told BBC Radio.

“They have played a good and active and growing role in creating a multi-cultural society,” he added.

He noted that terrorist acts had been carried out in London over the years by various groups including for example far-right groups. For years the British capital was wracked by violence by the Irish Republican Army (IRA).

“All I am interested in as mayor is that we try to prevent all acts of violence whether it is by a disaffected young member of the (far-right) BNP (British National Party), whether it is by an Islamist or a Wahhabist supporter,” he said.

It was crucial to understand “that that doesn’t mean that all white men are potentially a threat to society any more than all Muslims are,” he added.

But he said criticized the government’s ties with Saudi Arabia, saying it remained unclear if Riyadh had stemmed huge amounts of funding which he said flows from the country.

“We have got to understand that when we talk about the Wahhabi strand of Islam, which is very intolerant, our major problem in dealing with it is that it flows out of Saudi Arabia,” he said.

He said Wahhabi was the official religion of the Saudi royal family, and noted that Riyadh was one of the main buyers of British arms.

“For a very long time, politicians at national level were refusing to be sufficiently critical of the fact that the Saudi regime didn’t clean up its act,” he said.

“Now we are assured that they have, but there’s been decades of literally hundreds of millions of pounds flowing out of Saudi Arabia with official backing into the most intolerant strand of Islam, buying influence all over the world for it.

“I think we have to be absolutely clear that that is not still going on. I don’t have access to the sort of MI6 briefing to say whether that’s come to an end or not,” he said.


(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
, AFP, via Yahoo! News, June 30, 2007,

Religion News Blog posted this on Saturday June 30, 2007.
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