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Bin Laden supporters clash with nationalists in London

posted 7 May 2011, 05:54 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 7 May 2011, 05:56 ]

Muslims and members of the far-right English Defence League clash outside London Central Mosque during rallies for and against the killing of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

Around 100 Muslim protesters marched through central London on Friday (May 6) to protest America's killing of Osama bin Laden.

Declaring the 'USA will pay' for its military actions in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the Muslims Against Crusades (MAC) group marched from Central London Mosque to the American Embassy.

They were flanked by dozens of police officers, police motorcycles and riot vans as they made their way through the streets.

Around the corner from the embassy, a small group of English Defence League (EDL) far-right, ultranationalists were there to intercept the Muslim group.

Police struggled to keep the two sides apart and several arrests were made.

An EDL supporter had an effigy of Osama bin Laden confiscated by police, seeking to soothe tensions between the two sides.

The Muslim group, which included around 30 veiled women, held prayers for bin Laden outside the U.S. embassy as the EDL blew horns and shouted nationalistic slogans.

"If you would withdraw your forces from our countries, if you would stop bombing us. Let us look at the wisdom of Sheikh Osama bin Laden in his life. He said withdraw your forces and you will not be targeted, I think that is very good advice," said Anjem Choudary, from Muslims Against Crusades, who led the prayers.

The smaller EDL protest said they were opposing the fact that the MAC were allowed to hold their demonstration and hold prayers for bin Laden.

"We are not having it. We are trying to do it as peacefully as we can, but they are interested in violence by supporting Osama bin Laden," said one man who only gave his name as Gil.

The EDL is opposed to what it sees as the spread of Islamism, Sharia law and Islamic extremism in England.

Anjem Choudary warned of another attack similar to that on the UK's transport system in 2005 in the wake of bin Laden's death.

American embassies around the world are on heightened security alert since the killing of bin Laden in Pakistan.