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Islamic group challenges Brown to debate on Afghanistan

Islam4UK, a radical religious group that raised hackles with its plans to stage a rally in a town famous for honouring bodies of dead British soldiers coming home from Afghanistan, has challenged Prime Minister Gordon Brown to a debate on the war-ravaged country.

world Updated: Jan 05, 2010 21:46 IST

Islam4UK, a radical religious group that raised hackles with its plans to stage a rally in a town famous for honouring bodies of dead British soldiers coming home from Afghanistan, has challenged Prime Minister Gordon Brown to a debate on the war-ravaged country.

The rally plan in Wootton Bassett, Wiltshire, has been opposed by Brown and his ministers, and is likely to be banned if a formal application for permission is made to the local police.

Islam4UK said, it would apply to the police "in the next few days" for permission. During the rally, the group plans to carry dozens of symbolic coffins representing Afghan civilians killed in the conflict.

More than 250,000 people have signed an online petition calling for the proposed rally to be banned.

Islam4UK leader Anjem Choudary has said it could be called off if Brown or any of his ministers agrees to take part in a televised debate on the war.

A Downing Street spokesman said Brown had already made known his views on the planned march, which he described as "abhorrent and offensive".

The spokesman declined to comment on Choudary's offer to call off the protest if the Prime Minister agreed to a debate.