UK Hamas leader Azzam Tamimi tells crowd of 8.000 "Dying for your beliefs is just" "We are Muslims in Europe not European Muslims"
Head of Hamas terror 'think tank' The Instute of Islamic Political Thought expressed desire to become a sucide bomber
Firebrand Islamic academic: 'dying for your beliefs is just'By BEN TAYLOR 15:39pm 21st August 2006
Dr Azzam Tamimi told an 8,000-strong crowd that standing up for your principles was the 'greatest act of martyrdom'. The 51-year-old was speaking at the ExpoIslamia convention in Manchester.
The Palestinian-born academic - who previously boasted he would carry out a suicide bombing in Israel - also repeated his public backing for Hamas, which remains banned in the UK.
He said: "The greatest act of martyrdom is standing up for what is true and just. Martyrs are those who stand up and stand up in defiance of George Bush and Tony Blair. You stand up to them and you say desist. Stop this injustice. Stop this oppression."
Dr Tamimi claimed the war on terrorism was a war on Islam. "We are Muslims in Europe, not European Muslims," he added.
"Being fair and just means finding the middle path. The middle path is not rubbing shoulders with Tony Blair and George Bush."
The crowd erupted with cheering and applause when he said that Israel had been defeated by Hezbollah. He continued: "Hamas is making sacrifices for you. We tell this government Hamas is not a terrorist group. It is elected by the people of Palestine. We are not terrorists. We are defenders of the truth. Fighting those who invade Muslims is a just cause.
"The government is trying to turn the war on terror into the war on Islam."
In November 2004, Dr Tamimi told the BBC that he was prepared to be a suicide bomber if the opportunity arose. In an interview which was roundly condemned, he said that 2sacrificing myself for Palestine was a noble cause. It is the straight way to pleasing my God and I would do it if I had the opportunity".
Dr Tamimi, a prominent member of the Stop The War coalition, is married with three children and lives in Willesden, North West London. After coming to Britain from the Middle East more than 30 years ago, he and his family have become British citizens and live in a council block.
He has repeatedly spoken out in support of Hamas and described their suicide bomb tactics as 'the courage of man'.
In July 2004, he invited the radical Sheikh Yusuf Al Qaradawi to the UK. Al Qaradawi, who spoke at a taxpayer subsidised conference in London - has called for a war on Jews and the execution of homosexuals.