Monday, July 11, 2005

Mosques attacked as recriminations increase

Recriminations over Thursday’s bombings are in full swing following an article in Sunday’s News of the World. Speaking to the paper Lord Stevens, former Chief of the Metropolitan Police, said, “They will be apparently ordinary British citizens; young men conservatively and cleanly dressed and probably with some higher education. Highly computer literate, they will have used the internet to research explosives. They are painstaking, cautious, clever and very sophisticated.” He added that “up to 3,000 British-born or British-based people” had passed through terrorist training camps. It is not the first time Sir John Stevens has courted controversy. Less than one week after the Madrid bombings, on the 11th March 2004 killing 191 people, he said an “attack on London was inevitable.” Speaking as the then Commissioner of London’s Metropolitan Police he had also claimed, “This is not just about railways, the underground, it’s about buses, nightclubs and the like. Remember al-Qaeda attacked a night club in Bali.” He spoke then of a number of ‘dress rehearsals’ which the police and emergency services had trained for. One of these exercises was took place in central London in September 2004 in which a possible chemical / nuclear / biological attack was played out. Thursday’s attacks on London were very likely to have been conventional explosives, but the apparent lack of a controlled decontamination zone may strike some as bizarre, considering all that has been stated by government and officials. The debate stirred on London radio stations with many saying that his comments were likely to further fuel the racial hatred which has already been seen following the attacks. Four mosques have been attacked in several British towns and cities. The mosques in Leeds, Belvedere, Telford and Birkenhead had windows broken and cars and businesses in the areas concerned were also attacked. Chris Fox, the president of Association of Police Chief Officers, said there had been, “little damage.” Meanwhile, at least six Islamic centres in New Zealand have been vandalised and their walls painted with the message “Londoners RIP”, New Zealand police said on Sunday. PM Helen Clarke condemned the apparently coordinated attacks which occurred in Auckland. [TVNZ]
[updated 11:30 GMT 11/07/2005 ]

No comments: