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LOCAL Muslim leader, and former member of the Jamaat Al Muslimeen Imam Nazim Mohammed has denied having links with the Taliban or Osama bin Laden—but he’s an avowed defender of Afghanistan.
Imam Mohammed, in an interview with the Express at his Rio Claro Mosque yesterday, made no bones when he said that “any Muslim who supports any kafir (non-Muslim) to fight against Afghanistan, that fight will be against Allah and his Messenger, Prophet Muhammed”.
Pakistan’s President General Pervez Musharraf has given his assurance to the United States that his country would aid in any action against bin Laden, the main suspect in last Tuesday’s terrorist attack on the United States.
But Mohammed described the Pakistanis as hypocrites and said the North Alliance, the only opposition to Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban, as a “puppet of the United States”.
The outspoken Imam, who was part of the 1990 coup attempt, made clear his belief that the United States’ foreign policy was anti-Islamic.
“You really feel is bin Laden the Americans want?” he asked.
Mohammed then rocked back in his seat and with confidence said “is an Islamic state they afraid of...”
Mohammed, 60, is leader of the Umar Ibn Khattab Masjid, at Boos Village and estimates that his congregation is 100-plus strong.
On last week’s bombing of the of the World Trade Center and Pentagon, Mohammed remarked that it was “unfortunate that something like that happened because many innocent people got killed”.
He quickly added, “But when something happens to you, whenever you are confronted with something you first have to check yourself to see what you are doing wrong.”
Asked if he felt the bombings were justified, Mohammed declared, “I would not know. In Islam it says that you don’t kill old people, women and children in your battle.”
Questioned as to whether bin Laden, the man accused to be the mastermind behind the attacks, should be brought to justice, Mohammed said: “I don’t know who did it, they (the US) is just speculating.”
Mohammed was resolute when he said that the Taliban, Afghanistan’s ruling government, would not hand over “bin Laden to any kafirs”.
He denied having any direct links with the Taliban.
“I don’t know bin Laden, unless what I see in the news,” Mohammed said.
But added: “I am a supporter of Muslims. All Muslims are brothers, we are one body and if any part hurts the entire body hurts.”
Mohammed told the Express that he had no arms and ammunition and he was not receiving financial aid from the Taliban.
“I have a cutlass. If that is arms and ammunition, then I have arms and ammunition.”
Asked what would be his reaction if the US took military action against the Taliban, Mohammed declared, “Allah will deal with them.”
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