Protest in London against civil war threat in Iraq
Several thousand people gathered in central London to protest against the attack on a Shiite mosque in the Iraqi city of Samarra.india Updated: Feb 26, 2006 09:27 IST
Several thousand people gathered in central London to protest against the attack on a Shiite mosque in the Iraqi city of Samarra.
They warned about the risk of civil war in Iraq.
The protestors, carrying banners declaring 'Iraqis stand united in Iraq', also held pictures of the mosque before and after the attack, as well as portraits of Shiite spiritual leader Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.
The demonstration on Saturday drew up to 15,000 people, according to organisers. Police put the number at 5,500.
Protest organiser Mohammed Al-Hilli, 27, whose family fled Iraq to Britain when he was two years old, said the event saw both Sunni and Shia Muslims voice their opposition to the attack on the shrine.
"The message was very clear. People were in condemnation. They were calling for the perpetrators of such crimes to be brought to justice. They were saying there will not be civil war in Iraq," Hilli said.
The London march was called after an emergency meeting of Muslim leaders at the offices of the al-Khoei Foundation, the largest Shia organisation in the United Kingdom.
Prominent scholars, both Shia and Sunni, attended, as well as Sir Iqbal Sacranie of the Muslim Council of Britain, calling for unity between Muslims.
A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "It has all passed off peacefully. There were no incidents and no arrests."
Wednesday's attack on the Shiite holy shrine in Samarra, north of Baghdad, triggered reprisals against Sunni Muslims.