Whopper of the Week: Al-Muhajiroun
No blood lust at London's Finsbury Park Mosque?
"Following intense media interest in the Islamic Conference due to be held this Wednesday the 11th of September 2002 at [London's] Finsbury Park Mosque, the organizers, Al-Muhajiroun, would like to make it clear that:
1. The participants, which include leaders from the Muslim community … will not be celebrating the events of the 11th of September. …"
—Sept. 10 press release from Al-Muhajiroun.
"September the 11th 2001: A Towering Day In History."
— Poster for the event, illustrated with a photograph of the WorldTradeCenter in flames.
"Reporters were barred from the conference itself, but one of the 150 or so participants, the Saudi dissident Muhammad al-Massari, said at a news conference that the Sept. 11 onslaught 'wasn't the wisest thing, but legitimate, yes.'
" 'An eye for an eye as an old book says,' he said, referring to the attacks as retaliation by Mr. bin Laden for attacks on Muslims. 'But it was only one eye for 100 eyes,' said Mr. Massari, who is in exile and commands a following in radical Muslim circles. 'There is still much more to do.'
"Mr. bin Laden, he said, was 'fighting according to his beliefs.' He added, 'Anyone who fights according to his beliefs is a hero.'
" … Before the conference, Mr. Bakri Mohamed, the Al Muhajiroun leader, told reporters that Al Qaeda 'has got rational justification for what they did on Sept. 11.'
"'Maybe I disagree with them,' he said, 'but they have the right to fight back' after United States forces 'bombed Sudan, then they bombed Afghanistan.' He did not refer to the terrorist attacks in east Africa and Yemen that inspired the United States attacks."
Timothy Noah is a former Slate staffer. His book about income inequality is The Great Divergence.