Call for Muslim radicals to leave

The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has called on Muslim extremists to leave the country.

The Reverend David Lacy said radical Islamists were "hypocrites" who treated their neighbours as "enemies".

He said Muslims who speak out against the UK and have been accused of encouraging attacks on coalition soldiers in Iraq should leave.

The comments have divided Kirk members but have received some support from within the Muslim community.

Rev Lacy hit out at extremists who preach a message of terrorism.

He said: "If they really hate the British enough to want us dead and bombed then it is hypocritical of them to stay here, it seems common sense for them to get out.

"We want to be a multicultural family, but I think anyone, from any side or none, who says he or she wants a lot of British people dead is being hypocritical by staying here."

The moderator also warned that civil liberties campaigners risked stressing rights while underplaying the need for individual responsibility.

Muslims 'agree'

He said: "I think that people like me should be able to speak out at what they see as evil without being howled down by people who say 'you're impinging on other people's human rights'.

"Those of us who are subject to the bombs of the bombers, we have the right to speak out against it.

"We should be able to say to people who have the freedom in this country to talk, 'yes talk, but don't incite others, don't preach to others from any pulpit to go out and murder - first of all it's against your religion and it's against our law and you do not have the right to do that'."

The strong line has raised concern in some sections of the Kirk, with a number of senior figures reportedly uneasy that the comments are too outspoken.

But Ashraf Anjum, president of the Islamic Centre in Glasgow, told the Scotland on Sunday newspaper: "He is right. Anyone who comes to this country, whether they are Muslim, Christian, Jewish, whatever, should obey the law and not attack this country.

"The overwhelming majority of Muslims will agree with him."

The Scottish Socialist Party called the views "absolutely unacceptable".

National convenor Colin Fox said: "The comments of the moderator will instil fear in Muslims and give succour to those who direct hate and fear towards our Muslim brothers and sisters."