Muslims call for Israeli state to be destroyed: Fundamentalist gathering seeks political overthrow of Western democracies as part of Islamic revolution

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The Independent Online
THOUSANDS of delegates at an Islamic conference in London last night cheered a resolution calling for the destruction of the state of Israel.

The 8,000 Muslims who attended the conference at Wembley Arena were told by members of the Hizb ut Tahrir, an extremist group which has called for the hijacking of Israeli aircraft, that they should work to overthrow the political regime in Britain and other Western nations to allow for the foundation of an Islamic superstate.

And at the end of the conference, the organisers declared a series of resolutions which included the statement that 'there is no peace for the state of Israel until the state of Israel is demolished'.

Other final resolutions included the statement that 'all regimes in the Islamic world have no legitimacy in Islamic law' and, most radically, a resolution condemning all international organisations such as the United Nations, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund as being 'tools in the hands of the superpowers and unacceptable in Islam'.

This struck the biggest emotional chord of the day: participants stood up, fists raised, shouting 'God is great' and stamping feet in scenes more typical of a Tehran mosque than a north London entertainment complex.

The gay rights activist Peter Tatchell was arrested while demonstrating outside the conference against the alleged homophobia of radical Islam. Mr Tatchell, 42, and Glen Halton, 29 - who were among a group calling itself Queers Against Fundamentalism - were later charged with obstruction and possession of abusive and insulting literature.

Last night, Mr Tatchell said: 'Our aim was to highlight the harassment of lesbians and gays at British universities by Muslim extremists and the fact that over 4,000 homosexuals have been executed in Iran since 1980. They are beheaded and sometimes thrown over clifftops.'

The protest was not aimed at all Muslims, he said, only at the most intolerant elements. He alleged that during the course of the demonstration he and his colleagues received death threats. 'We were told by some of the Muslims that we would be tracked down and killed,' he said.

The conference - believed to be the biggest gathering of fundamentalists staged outside the Middle East - had been seen as a flashpoint between radical young Muslims and Jews after two bomb attacks against Israeli targets in London last month, but serious trouble was avoided, although some newsmen and photographers said they were threatened when they tried to interview delegates.

The widespread concern that the conference would provoke violence led Jewish groups, Brent council and local MPs to demand last week that it be banned. The Home Office insisted that it had no powers to stop it.

Privately, even the organisers were nervous about security. They claimed that one of the key speakers, a well-known Saudi Arabian dissident, was forced to cancel his appearance because of evidence that Arab intelligence services had plans to assassinate him. They also refused to allow television cameras into the conference hall for fear of participants being filmed.

Inside the arena, a number of radical Muslim academic and religious leaders from around the world called for the establishment of a global Islamic state, and the restoration of the Caliphate, which was abolished after the First World War.

Such ambitions are outlawed in many Muslim countries, which regard them as subversive. One speaker, from Jordan, called for Jihad, or Holy War: 'In order to create our system, you have to take some systems out. Islam will not co-exist with democracy.'

(Photograph omitted)