Last Updated Mon, 18 Jul 2005 09:37:59 EDT
Britain's government is denying suggestions that its role in the Iraq war provoked the deadly bombings in London earlier this month.
A study co-authored by two of the country's leading think-tanks – the Royal Institute of International Affairs and the Economic and Social Research Council – said the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq gave al-Qaeda a fundraising and recruitment boost.
Released on Monday, the study comes 11 days after a series of rush-hour bombs in London killed at least 54 people and injured 700 on three subway trains and one bus.
Reem Allaf, a spokesperson for the institute, says the British government has embraced a high-risk policy by joining with the United States.
"The involvement of Britain in the war in Iraq has been a contributing factor and has helped the network of al-Qaeda in their propaganda and their recruitment and in their training," said Allaf.
But British Foreign Minister Jack Straw rejected the report.
"The terrorists have struck across the world, in countries allied with the United States, backing the war in Iraq and in countries that had nothing whatever to do with the war," said Straw.
British Defence Secretary John Reid said the world must confront extremism.
"The idea that somehow by running away from the school bully, then the bully will not come after you is a thesis that is known to be completely untrue by every kid in the playground," Reid told the British Broadcasting Corporation.
On Sunday, Britain's largest Sunni Muslim group issued a religious edict, or fatwa, condemning the suicide bombings as a perversion of Islam. The Sunni Council said killing is forbidden in the Qur'an, Islam's holiest book.
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