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Muslims mark 7/7 with grief, anger at Blair

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LONDON, July 7 (Reuters) Members of London's Muslim community grieved for the victims of the July 7 bombings today, but one Islamic leader also hit out at Prime Minister Tony Blair, calling him ''insensitive and ill-informed''.

Speaking at the East London Islamic Centre, Kumrul Hassan, the uncle of Shahara Islam who was killed in the bus bombings at Tavistock Square, said he hoped Britons would ''not see such terrible acts committed in our country ever again''.

''Our religion, Islam, stands for peace, a fact that is known by all ordinary Muslims, and which is regularly preached in the sermons by our imams,'' he told reporters.

Hassan also renewed calls for a full public inquiry into the bombings, which killed 52 innocent people and wounded 700. The government has so far ruled out such a move.

''We were disappointed the prime minister ruled out a public inquiry,'' Hassan said.

''Shahara was a victim of the attacks and we owe it to her and the rest of the victims to find out why this happened, how it happened and what we as a country need to do to prevent it from ever happening again.'' Shahara Islam was just 20 when she died as she travelled to her job as a bank cashier. As a Muslim, she became something of a symbol of the indiscriminate nature of the London attacks.

Britain's 1.8 million Muslims have come under close scrutiny since then and many feel they have been unfairly targeted by the police and intelligence services.

Mr Blair provoked anger in some quarters this month when he urged moderate Muslims to do more to root out extremists like the four bombers, who were all British-born Muslims.

''The Muslim community since July 7 has come forward and earnestly engaged both within and with the wider community,'' said Habib ur Rahman, head of the Islamic Forum Europe.

''This will continue to be the case, despite the insensitive, ill-informed, inaccurate provocation from Mr Blair.

''Terrorism is a crime and crime has to be fought by all of us,'' Rahman said. ''Did we delegate combating the IRA to the Catholics? Is Tony Blair not our prime minister?'' Thousands of Muslims were due to attend Friday prayers across the country and many observed a 2-minute silence in tribute to the 7/7 victims.

REUTERS SI KP1906

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