He is identified here as one of Britain’s most prominent leaders. Watch now, however, as he is likely to be characterized in the coming days as a marginal figure to whom nobody really listens. From the Times Online, with thanks to Twostellas:
ONE of Britain’s most prominent Islamic leaders has declared that British troops are a legitimate target for Iraqi militants.
Dr Ahmad al-Rawi, an Iraqi-born British passport-holder who has lived in this country for three decades, is one of 93 Islamic international scholars who signed a “bayyan” (declaration) in August supporting uprisings against the “filth of occupation” by both Iraqis and Palestinians. The signatories included five Hamas leaders.
Defending the bayyan last week al-Rawi compared the coalition forces in Iraq with the Nazi invaders of France in 1940. He said: “If they (the British) attack, it’s the right of the civilians to resist the British. Any people who are occupied, they have the right to resist. I prefer it to be peaceful, but if they choose to resist by other means it’s their choice.”
Although he would prefer a peaceful overthrow of the occupation, al-Rawi said he could not condemn attacks on coalition forces that have been responsible for many of the deaths of 1,112 American and 69 British soldiers in Iraq.
“My opinion on the occupation is that it is illegal. I couldn’t call the resistance, even military resistance to the occupation, I couldn’t consider it criminal.”
Al-Rawi, who lives in Loughborough, is the president of the Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe (FIOE) which speaks for millions of Muslims belonging to 52 Islamic organisations in 28 countries.