London, Jan.23 : Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister, Dr. Barham Salih, has claimed that mosques in the Blackburn area of Britain are far more extreme in their preachings than those in his own country.
Salih's comments have sparked an outrage among British Muslim leaders, reports The Sun.
Shadow Culture Minister Tobias Ellwood revealed that Salih made the comment to him at a dinner party in Baghdad.
The Tory MP claimed the Iraqi as saying: "I am not surprised that you British are facing so many problems with extremists after what I saw in those mosques in Blackburn. What I saw would not be allowed here in Iraq - it would be illegal."
Ellwood made the claims in the House of Commons during debate about terrorism.
"I do not believe these comments can be dismissed out of hand. I was absolutely shocked. He went inside the mosques, and said literature he saw would be illegal. He was quite clear. The comments are only directed at a very small proportion of mosques in the UK - the vast majority of Muslims wouldn't want to be labelled," he added.
Dr Salih visited Blackburn, Lancashire, as a guest of the town's MP Jack Straw in 2005.
Salim Mulla, chairman of the Lancashire Council of Mosques, said Dr Salih was positive about what he had seen in the town when they spoke during his visit.
"For Dr Salih to make these sort of comments is not very helpful at all. I don't know where he's coming from. He was very co-operative when he visited, and took lots of photographs," he added.