Islamic cleric Yusuf Al-Qaradawi is due to address a conference on Sunday supported by the Metropolitan Police. Controversy has surrounded his visit to the UK amid claims by Jewish community leaders he threatens race relations. But the cleric has been allowed to speak after the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said it would not act over his defence of Palestinian suicide bombers in Israel as “martyrs”. He is expected to speak at the Wembley Conference Centre in London.
Heavy handed anti-terrorist policing is driving British Muslims into the hands of al-Qa’ida and other Islamic extremist groups, David Blunkett and Scotland Yard have been warned. The Muslim community is increasingly alarmed at the number of people being arrested for suspected anti-terrorist offences, but released without charge. Extremists, such as the supporters of al-Qa’ida and al-Muhajiroun, a radical Muslim organisation, are attempting to exploit this unrest and recruit new members in Britain, the Home Secretary and the police have been told. The warning by Muslim leaders follows the arrest of 537 people by the Metropolitan Police under anti-terrorist legislation since the 11 September attacks in 2001. Of those detained, 94 have been charged with terrorist-related offences and six have been convicted.