Muslim leader condemns execution

A Muslim leader has criticised the UK Government for a lack of action after the death of hostage Ken Bigley.

Chairman of Birmingham Central Mosque Dr Mohammad Naseem told a press conference the murder of the 62-year-old engineer could have been averted.

Dr Naseem, who was joined by other Muslim leaders, also condemned the hostage takers for crimes against God.

He concluded his speech by appealing to Tony Blair and George Bush not to leave a “legacy of hate and death”.

Dr Naseem said Mr Bigley’s murder could have been averted had the prime minister pressed the US Government to release two female Iraqi scientists.

He said: “It would have weakened their (the captors’) ground and seemed to meet some of their demands without entering into negotiations.

“I believe, if the British Government claimed to have the ears of Mr Bush, if it claimed to have a partnership with America and influence in world affairs, I think it could have done much better.”

Mr Blair has expressed his “utter revulsion” at the killing and Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said the government had exchanged messages with the captors, but said they refused to abandon their demands.

Dr Naseem also condemned Mr Bigley’s captors for their crime against the human race and against God.

He said his sentiments reflected the feelings of Muslims across the city.

A book of condolence has been opened at the mosque.

Dr Naseem concluded his statement by making a direct appeal to Tony Blair and George Bush. He said: “May we most humbly appeal to the conscience of the leaders of Britain and America. May we beg you to reflect.

“The world has known nothing but death and destruction since you came to power.

“Please do not leave us and our children to this legacy of hate and death.”

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Oct. 9, 2004

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