Turkish minister condemns U.S. congressman's comment on destroying Mecca

As PRAVDA.Ru earlier predicted, a remark made by U.S. Congressman Tom Tancredo of Colorado on the possibility of destroying Islamic holy sites caused discontent amid true followers of Islam. Turkey's foreign minister publicly condemned Tancredo's comments.

Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul condemned comments by U.S. Congressman Tom Tancredo of Colorado that the United States could "take out" Islamic holy sites if there were a nuclear attack on America by Muslim fundamentalists, says the AP.

Gul, foreign minister of a country that is officially 99 percent Muslim, commented on the Republican congressman's remarks at a joint news conference with Irish Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern in the Turkish capital Ankara on Tuesday.

Gul said that he didn't think the people or the government of the United States shared Tancredo's view. "The United States has a Muslim population," the Anatolia news agency quoted him as saying.

Rep. Tom Tancredo made his remarks Friday on WFLA-AM in Orlando, Florida, reported Pravda.ru.

Talk show host Pat Campbell asked the Littleton Republican how the country should respond if terrorists struck several U.S. cities with nuclear weapons.

"Well, what if you said something like - if this happens in the United States, and we determine that it is the result of extremist, fundamentalist Muslims, you know, you could take out their holy sites," Tancredo answered.

"You're talking about bombing Mecca," Campbell said.

"Yeah," Tancredo responded.

Tancredo later said he was "just throwing out some ideas" and that an "ultimate threat" might have to be met with an "ultimate response."

As the Rocky Mountain News reports, facing mounting criticism, Rep. Tom Tancredo on Monday refused to apologize for his suggestion.

Tancredo is known for his fiery rhetoric on immigration and other issues, but his words are coming under more scrutiny because he has started traveling to test the waters for a possible presidential candidacy in 2008, supposes the Rocky Mountain News.

Although his spokesman stressed Tancredo was only speaking hypothetically, the threat was in line with an alarming tendency in the United States.

Last week the U.S. did not let one of Britain's most senior Muslim leaders, Dr. Zaki Badawi, head of the Muslim College, enter the United States without explanation. Late June the Bush administration officials staged a meeting with the representative of the Uzbek opposition who is linked to terrorist organizations of radical Islam.

On the photo: Turkey's Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul

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