January 3, 2007
LONDON, England (Reuters) -- A British Muslim said on Wednesday he regretted calling for the United States and Denmark to be bombed during a protest in London last year against publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed.
Umran Javed, who is on trial accused of soliciting murder and inciting racial hatred, told London's Old Bailey criminal court he got carried away during last February's demonstration outside the Danish Embassy in the British capital.
He said he had not intended to say anything at the protest, prompted by the publication of cartoons in a Danish newspaper that many Muslims considered insulting to Islam, until a megaphone was thrust into his hands.
"I regret saying these things, they were just sound bites, slogans," said Javed, 27, who had travelled from his home in Birmingham, central England, to take part in the demonstration.
"I do not want to see Denmark being bombed or the USA. I was disappointed I said these things. I made the statements in an emotionally charged atmosphere. These things were the only thing that came into my mind."
Prosecutors said there was no doubt he had intended to incite murder and racial hatred.
"If you shout to your audience 'bomb, bomb Denmark, bomb, bomb USA', there is no doubt what you intend your audience to understand," said prosecuting lawyer David Perry.
The demonstration, where some protesters waved placards praising the 2005 London bombings by four British Islamists which killed 52 people, attracted widespread condemnation.
Javed said he had no wish for anyone to be harmed and never intended to be threatening to any race.
He denies soliciting murder and using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behavior with intent to stir up racial hatred and his trial continues.