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British Taliban supporters should not be prosecuted, London mayor says

British Taliban supporters should not be prosecuted, London mayor says

Author: Associated Press
Publication: MSNBC Online
Date: November 24, 2001
URL: http://famulus.msnbc.com/FamulusIntl/ap11-24-031202.asp?reg=EUROPE

LONDON, Nov. 24 - British Muslims who went to Afghanistan to fight for the Taliban should not face prosecution when they return home, London Mayor Ken Livingstone said.

''We've got to accept that these people went off because of a deep sense of injustice about what's happening in Israel and the West Bank,'' Livingstone said in an interview published in Saturday's edition of The Daily Telegraph newspaper.

''Of course, I disagree with them, but there are only about a dozen of them,'' Livingstone was quoted as saying.

News reports have suggested that as many as 200 British Muslims had gone to support the Taliban. Three British Muslims were reported killed in Afghanistan in late October, though the circumstances were unclear.

After the United States accused the Taliban of sheltering the suspects in the Sept. 11 terror attacks, hundreds of foreign fighters - most of them from Pakistan - crossed into Afghanistan to help the Islamic militia.

However, Zaki Badawi, president of London's Muslim College, said Saturday that he doubted that any British Muslims were fighting for the Taliban.

''There are lots of stories about it and every time they claim somebody is fighting then we discover them somewhere in Pakistan,'' Badawi said in an interview with British Broadcasting Corp. radio.

The British military has helped the United States with its attacks in Afghanistan, and Badawi added that he would regard any British Muslims who fought for the Taliban as traitors.

''Anyone fighting against this country is a traitor, and I feel this very strongly. If you are a citizen of this country you have to abide by the law of this country,'' Badawi said.
 


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