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Home >> World
UPDATED: 12:11, August 10, 2005
Pakistan: Britain too soft on extremists
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Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf said on Monday Britain had been too lenient with radical Muslim clerics and must clamp down on them after last month's bomb attacks in London.

Asked by the BBC in an interview if Britain had been too soft on radical clerics, Musharraf said: "Yes I think so, absolutely. It should be stopped, nobody should be... talking of hatred and militancy and aggression."

"That is not what the mosque is meant for. That should be stopped immediately."

On Friday, British Prime Minister Tony Blair unveiled plans for sweeping anti-terrorism measures to silence or deport Muslim radicals after 52 people were killed in the bomb attacks on London's transport network in July.

Blair said his Labour government planned to ban two Muslim groups and bring in new powers to expel or exclude foreign nationals who incited violence or glorified terrorism.

A British official said on Monday Britain was considering charging Muslim clerics with treason if they incited violence or praised suicide attacks.

This sparked criticism from some opposition politicians who argued treason laws were outdated and impractical.

Musharraf, an ally of US President George W. Bush in the war on terrorism, said he thought the July 7 and 21 bombings were possibly linked and supervised by the same mastermind.

"I am sure there must be a brain behind it," he said. "The people were different and maybe the groups didn't know each other, but the planner must be the same."

Musharraf denied reported visits to Pakistan by at least two of the bombers had been pivotal to the attacks, referring to British statements that the attackers had been born in Britain or had lived in the country for many years.

"Even if they visited Pakistan and they contacted some extremists here, the reality is that they have been in the UK for 20 years," he said.

"The indoctrination, the mindset did not change here. The mindset changed in UK."

Musharraf has won praise from the United States for deploying his forces to crush al-Qaida militants in Pakistan's border region with Afghanistan.

Source: China Daily

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