Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Berlin bans Arab-Islamic Congress

BERLIN, Germany (Reuters) -- Berlin
The Berlin state government has banned an Arab-Islamic Congress due to be held in the German capital next month to rally support for 'resistance and intifada' in Iraq and Israel.

Henrike Morgenstern, a spokeswoman for the Berlin interior ministry, said Monday an advertisement for the event published in English on the Internet expressed approval for suicide attacks against Israel and the United States.

'That significantly oversteps the limit of what can be allowed in terms of opinion-forming,' she said.

Interior Minister Otto Schily said last week the government believed the event was a threat to security and public order and he would work with the foreign ministry to try to stop would-be participants entering the country.

At the weekend, police said a Lebanese man who was one of the organizers of the congress had been deported to Beirut.

The conference was announced on the Internet at http://www.anamoqawem.org/berlincall.htm and was scheduled to take place on October 1-3.

On their Web site, the organizers urge Iraqi and Palestinian resistance and advocate 'the liberation of all the occupied territories and countries in (the) struggle against the American-Zionist hegemony and occupation.'

In a letter to Schily, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre -- an international Jewish human rights group -- described the meeting as 'a political platform for radical Jihad and a market for potential European youth recruits to the ranks of terrorism.'"