(Updates with protest called off)
By Michael Holden
LONDON, July 27 A group of British Islamists
called off a protest planned for outside the London Olympic Park
on Friday and organisers said police had told them not to go
The group, led by some of Britain's most prominent Islamist
figures, had intended to gather outside the gates to the park
ahead of the opening ceremony to denounce what they called the
evil of the Games.
Police said that as it was a standing protest, not a march,
the group was not required to obtain permission, but organiser
Mizanur Rahman said police had made it clear to him that the
protest should not go ahead.
"We would have been immediately arrested otherwise," said
Rahman, who served a four-year jail term for encouraging
followers to kill British and American troops in Afghanistan and
Iraq during a demonstration in London in 2006.
"There's no way for Muslims to voice any of their concerns,"
said Rahman, whose Website, evilolympics.com, has the tagline
"While the world plays, Muslims are being killed around the
He vowed there would be more efforts to protest during the
course of the Games.
East London, where the Olympic Park is located, is home to a
large Muslim community housed in some of the capital's poorest
neighbourhoods. It is also home to a number of British Muslims
convicted of involvement in plots since the Sept. 11, 2001,
attacks on the United States.
Rahman said the decision of judo chiefs not to allow a Saudi
athlete to compete wearing an Islamic headscarf showed why
Muslims should boycott the Olympics, which this year coincides
with the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
"I would hope that this would be a sign they should not be
in the Games," said Rahman.
(Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)