LONDON (Reuters) – British Muslims have described the beheading of a hostage in Iraq as “deeply repugnant and morally reprehensible” although some blamed it on Prime Minister Tony Blair for attacking the Gulf state.
The Muslim Council of Britain, an umbrella group for around 400 Muslim organisations in the UK, said on Friday it was is appalled and profoundly saddened by news the 62-year-old engineer had been killed by his captors.
“There can be absolutely no justification for the killing of this defenceless individual,” said Iqbal Sacranie, Secretary General of the MCB.
“This is a deed that is deeply repugnant and morally reprehensible. We unequivocally condemn it and hope that Ken’s murderers are brought to justice swiftly.”
The MCB, a lobby group for Britain’s 1.8 million Muslims, has played a prominent role in the hostage crisis since Bigley was seized in Baghdad three weeks ago. It sent a delegation to Iraq in a futile attempt to negotiate his release.
It said that although the mission had failed, it served to underscore “the utter rejection of these kinds of vile and barbaric actions by the vast majority of (Muslims)”.
The Muslim Association of Britain (MAB), a smaller lobby group affiliated to the MCB, also expressed its revulsion.
It described the beheading as “an un-Islamic act” and said it sympathised with Bigley’s grieving family.
However, radical British-based Islamist group al Muhajiroun said the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq, supported by the British, was to blame for Bigley’s death at the hands of militants from a group linked to al Qaeda.
“I think that the blood of Ken Bigley is absolutely on the hands of Tony Blair who did nothing whatsoever to secure his release,” Anjem Choudary, the head of al Muhajiroun in Britain, told Reuters.
“The cause of Ken Bigley’s death is the U.S. and British occupation of Iraq.”