Conference of Muslims sparks fears of violence: Jews want London meeting banned

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The Independent Online
THE Attorney General has been accused by Britain's most influential Jewish organisation of ignoring repeated pleas to investigate Hizb ut Tahir, a radical Muslim group that has called for the killing of Jews.

Members of Hizb ut Tahir, which is banned in some Muslim countries, will be attending a conference at Wembley, north London, on Sunday and there are fears of violence. The conference follows last week's bombing of the Israeli embassy in London and a Jewish charity organisation.

It emerged yesterday that the leader of Hizb ut Tahir, Omar Bakir Muhammad, was arrested shortly after the Gulf war in 1991 for threatening to kill John Major, but was released without charge. Calls for the conference to be banned have failed. The Home Office repeated last night that it has no legal authority to prohibit the meeting under the public order Act. Scotland Yard does have the authority but only if it deems the threat of violence is credible.

The meeting has been called to discuss the restoration of the Caliphate, abolished by the Turks 70 years ago, which exercises sovereignty over all Muslims. The British wing of Hizb ut Tahir was formed five years ago.

The group is dedicated to the restoration of a Muslim state and to the destruction of the state of Israel. In the UK, it is also responsible for a variety of publications which have aroused concern among the Jewish community.

The Board of Deputies of British Jews, which represents the Jewish community, has urged the Attorney General to investigate the group for incitement to racial hatred on the basis of leaflets which it has published. Earlier this year, one of the group's members was arrested on suspicion of incitement at Ilford, Essex, but was released with a caution.

Board officials said yesterday that it had referred material on at least six occasions to the Attorney General since the start of the decade and accused him of repeatedly ignoring their concern. The most recent leaflet stated that the Prophet would not come until 'the believers fight the Jews and kill them'. Earlier ones include references to the hijacking of aircraft. One says that it is unacceptable for a Muslim to hijack a plane, unless it is full of Jews or Israelis, in which case it becomes a duty.

The conference organisers, the Muslim Unity Organisation, said last night that the meeting would not discuss the Jews, and accused the media of hype. It expects 10,000 Muslims to come to Wembley Arena.

The Jewish community has joined MPs and the local authority, Brent council, to lobby the Home Office to ban the meeting. The Union of Jewish students joined that campaign yesterday, but said it would not mount protests outside the arena, for fear of violent confrontation. A spokeswoman for Wembley Arena management said last night that the meeting would be going ahead.