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Ahmed Abu Laban (www.religion.dk)
The Danish imam who helped instigate a protest against satirical drawings of Muhammad that has escalated into deadly riots worldwide supports al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden and told Muslim worshipers not to grieve victims of 9-11, according to news reports.
Imam Ahmed Abu Laban, leader of the Islamic Society of Denmark, said in his Friday sermon days after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon that he shed no tears for the victims, reported the Israeli daily Maariv.
The Danish paper Kristeligt Dagblad said in a Sept. 19, 2001, report that in his sermon the Friday after the attacks, Abu Laban praised the Taliban as people who were trying to build a nation in Afghanistan.
Maariv noted Muslims in Denmark joined in jubilant celebrations over the 9-11 attacks.
Abu Laban reportedly has given political and financial support to the Egyptian terrorist group Gamaa al-Islamiya, which is part of bin Laden’s network. In a Jan. 3 story, the Danish publication Sappho noted Abu Laban also has spoken highly of bin Laden, praising him for his ascetic lifestyle.
The reports of Abu Laban’s links to terrorists were compiled by the weblog Gateway Pundit.
Since last week, Muslims throughout the world have expressed outrage over 12 cartoons caricaturing Islam’s prophet published in September by the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten and three much more provocative images that Muslim leaders have been unable to document.
Twelve cartoons published by the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten (courtesy Human Events)
One of those images of mysterious origin, which never were published, has been shown to be a fake – a grainy image taken from an AP photo of a contestant in a French pig-squealing contest. Another depicts Muhammad as a pedophile demon and a third has a praying Muslim being sodomized by a dog, according to Gateway Pundit.
After unsuccessfully attempting legal proceedings against the government and newspaper, Abu Laban took the images on a tour of the Middle East in December to rally support for his protest, distributing them as examples of an “anti-Muslim environment” in the European country.
Three undocumented images Danish imams used as examples of anti-Muslim hostility (courtesy Gateway Pundit)
He gave further explanation in a December story by Islam Online.
“We want to internationalize this issue so that the Danish government would realize that the cartoons were not only insulting to Muslims in Denmark but also to Muslims worldwide,” he said.
“It was decided to take such a step because it is wrong to turn a blind eye to the fact that some European countries discriminate against their Muslims on the grounds that they are not democratic and that they can not understand western culture.”
In the interview with Islam Online, Abu Laban said that during his December trip he planned to meet with Yussuf al-Qaradawi, spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, which has spawned many of the leading Muslim terrorist groups.
Qaradawi, who has a program on the Arabic satellite news channel al-Jazeera, disseminated a fatwa that gave sanction to the murder of American soldiers in Iraq.
According to the Sept. 19, 2001, story by Kristeligt Dagblad, Abu Laban received as his guest in Denmark “the blind sheik” Omar Abdul Rahman, who is now imprisoned in the U.S. for his part in the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993.
In a Aug. 21, 1994, story by Jyllands-Posten, Abu Laban was asked to respond to a massacre by the Algerian terrorist organization GIA. The slaughter led to the murder of, among others, seven Christian Monks and a number of foreign tourists.
But Abu Laban wouldn’t answer clearly whether or not it was a good thing to kill and, after pressure from the reporter, said only:
“Perhaps the tourists are spreading AIDS in Algeria just like the Jews are spreading AIDS in Egypt.”
Rohan Gunaratna of the Centre for Terrorism and Political Violence in St. Andrews, Scotland, and author of the book “Inside Al Qaeda,” has called Abu Laban as an Islamic extremist.
Gunaratna accused the Muslim leader of giving political and economic support to the al-Qaida-related Egyptian group Gamaa al-Islamiya. According to Moscow News, Abu Laban threatened Gunaratna with a lawsuit, but has not followed through.
A profile of Abu Laban Friday night on Danish television also referred to his close ties to Gamaa Islamiya.
Another program the same evening showed him speaking in English on Danish television in condemnation of the boycott of Danish goods, then, in an interview with the Middle East news channel al-Jazeera, happily remarking in Arabic about how well the boycott was going.
Walid Phares, senior fellow with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies in Washington, asked in an article published on Counterterrorism blog, “Why did it take five months for what Western media dubbed ‘instant reactions to the insult’ to materialize?”
Leaders of the Muslim community in Denmark said they attempted to resolve the matter locally by asking the newspaper or government to apologize.
But some analysts, Phares said, see “a greater agenda: taking advantage of the harm made by the pictures to impose a new political order in that Scandinavian country, and beyond.”
Abu Laban seemed to affirm that in the interview with Fox News, which was noted by Gateway Pundit.
The Muslim cleric told reporter Jonathan Hunt of his demand that Danish leaders “within their abilities and competence and within the concept of dynamism of liberalism to create … a new set of rules. … ”
Hunt: So, you want a new set of rules for the way Western Europe lives?
Abu Laban: Yes.
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