Muslims issue bin Laden fatwa

Madrid, Spain - SPAIN'S Islamic Commission said today it was issuing a decree against al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, in the name of whose network last year's Madrid train bombings were claimed.

"We are going to issue a fatwa (religious decree) against bin Laden this afternoon," said Mansour Escudero, who leads the Federation of Islamic religious entities (Feeri) and is co-secretary general of the Spanish governmenmt-created commission.

The commission invited Spanish-based imams (clerics) to condemn terrorism at Friday prayers, when the whole country will be remembering the 191 people who were killed in the train blasts and the 1900 injured exactly 12 months ago.

The attacks have been blamed on mainly Moroccan Islamic extremists loyal to bin Laden.

"We have called on imams to make a formal declaration condemning terrorism and for a special prayer for all the victims of terrorism," Mr Escudero said.

The commission has also drawn up a document designed to "thank the Spanish people and the government for their attitude towards Muslims" since last March 11, in particular for not taking "disproportionate" measures similar to those which the September 11 attacks sparked in the United States.

The commission called on Muslims to take part in Friday's commemorative programme being organised by Spanish authorities and community groups and to work with them to ensure terrorism was defeated.

According to Muslim associations, there are some 230,000 immigrant Muslims in Spain, mostly in the north-eastern region of Catalonia, in addition to some 260,000 native Spaniards who profess the faith.