Sunday, August 28, 2005

UK government received warning of 'Iraq extremism link'

The British government was warned over a year ago by its most senior Foreign Office official that the Iraq war was fuelling UK Muslim extremism, it has emerged

Foreign Office Permanent Secretary Michael Jay issued the warning in a May 2004 letter, leaked to the Observer.

The letter to Cabinet Secretary Sir Andrew Turnbull said British foreign policy was a "key driver" behind recruitment by extremist Muslim groups.

The Foreign Office said it did not comment on leaked documents.

The letter said a "recurring theme" among the underlying causes of extremism in the Muslim community was "the issue of British foreign policy, especially in the context of the middle east peace process and Iraq".

It added: "British foreign policy and the perception of its negative effect on Muslims globally plays a significant role in creating a feeling of anger and impotence among

Shadow foreign secretary Liam Fox told BBC News the government's handling of the problem had been "inept from start to finish".
"What I find suprising is that the government denies there is any link when most people, with common sense, would say there is some link that makes it easier to recruit extremists from the Muslim community," he said

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