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Withdraw troops from Iraq: London Mayor

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August 04, 2005 21:47 IST

London Mayor Ken Livingstone on Thursday asked the British government to withdraw troops from Iraq to prevent further terrorist attacks against the country.

"The London bombings demand clear thinking, not rhetoric. People's lives depend on the decisions made. These must be for every community to aid the police; to treat Britain's Muslim community with respect... and for Britain to withdraw from Iraq," Livingstone wrote in 'The Guardian' daily 4 weeks after the bombing which killed 56 people in three underground trains and a bus.

Complete coverage: The London Blasts

"If the invasion of Iraq had been justified, it would be possible to argue that we must bear the sacrifices necessary to achieve an outcome. However, it is evident that the war in Iraq was not justified," the Mayor, who had vociferously opposed the March 2003 US-led invasion, said, adding the invasion 'had made the situation worse'.

"The reason the US is not able to stabilise Iraq is related to the same critical issue that affects policing in Britain: information," he added.
     
The Mayor also lashed out at those opposing Islamic scholar Sheikh Qaradawi's visit to Britain, saying 'if supporters of Palestinians should be banned on the grounds that Palestinians kill civilians, then consistency should require banning Israeli leaders, who have been responsible for killing several times more Palestinian civilians.'

Livingstone said Qaradawi, one of the most eminent Muslim religious leaders, had condemned the London bombings.

"It is impossible to say that Britain's Muslims should be treated with respect but that their religion's most eminent repersentative must be banned."

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