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France

Leaked Pentagon list says Lyon mosque was al Qaeda training centre

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-04-26

France's Laennec mosque in Lyon was one of several institutions listed in a leaked Pentagon document as al Qaeda training centres around the world. Kamel Kabtane, the mosque's rector, rejected the accusations as "ridiculous".

AFP - Al Qaeda recruited and trained militants at mosques and Islamic centers in cities around the world from Montreal to Karachi, according to a Pentagon list leaked Tuesday.

The document used by American interrogators in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, lists among them the Al-Sunna mosque in Montreal, Abu Bakr International University in Karachi, the Dimaj Institute in Sadah (Yemen), the Finsbury Park mosque in north London, the Islamic Cultural Institute mosque in Milan (Italy), Laennec mosque in Lyon (France), and the Wazir Akbar Khan mosque in Kabul.

In Lyon, the rector of the grand mosque expressed outrage over the list and said the allegation that the Laennec mosque was used by Al-Qaeda was "ridiculous."

"The grand mosque of Lyon, an institution known throughout the world and for its exemplary conduct, does not merit such ridiculous accusations," Kamel Kabtane, the mosque's rector said in a statement.

He said he had requested a meeting with the US ambassador to France to tell him personally "it is unacceptable to raise such serious and destructive criticisms about the mosques, its leaders and its faithful."

Another Pentagon document released by WikiLeaks details information on prisoners at the US naval facility, including Mauritanian Mohamedou Ould Salahi, 40, who was briefly an imam at the Montreal mosque in 1999-2000.

Salahi is described in the papers as an electrical engineer trained in Germany who traveled to Afghanistan and swore allegiance to Osama bin Laden.

He would later recruit four of the militants involved in the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States, including three of the pilots who flew the hijacked planes into the Twin Towers and into the ground in Pennsylvania.

He also is alleged to have headed an Al Qaeda cell in Montreal responsible for the 2000 Millennium Plot to bomb Los Angeles International Airport.
 

Date created : 2011-04-26

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