Archive for Thursday, July 21, 2005

Muslim leaders demand inquiry

July 21, 2005

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— Britain's Muslim leaders demanded a judicial inquiry Wednesday into what motivated the four "homegrown" suicide bombers who targeted London, as Prime Minister Tony Blair proposed an international conference on rooting out Islamic extremism.

The government said all 56 people known to have died in the bombings of three subway trains and a bus have now been identified, but Home Secretary Charles Clarke warned the number could rise.

Twenty-seven people remained hospitalized, several in critical condition. Police also have not ruled out the possibility of finding more bodies in the mangled wreckage of a train that is still in a deep tunnel near King's Cross station.

In Pakistan, an intelligence official said investigators there arrested a man who had direct links to the July 7 bombings, and investigators used telephone numbers provided by Britain to determine who may have had contact with the bombers.

Three of the bombers, all Britons of Pakistani descent, traveled last year to Karachi in southern Pakistan, where officials are trying to determine whether they received training from extremists.

Blair has also sought the help of Britain's Muslim community. He met Tuesday with 25 community leaders, who have agreed to form a task force to take on the radical voice of Islam.

Sadiq Khan, a Muslim lawmaker in Blair's Labour Party, said the group was still in an embryonic stage and would address issues such as the standard of religious education, the role of the media, political participation by British Muslims and social deprivation.

The demand for an inquiry appeared to reflect Muslim concerns about the impact of social problems in their communities even as they seek to distance themselves from the attacks and any form of extremism.

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