A Middle Eastern diplomat said Saturday pro-Iranian Moslems were receiving terrorist training in at least five places in England, so authorities should take seriously Iran's death threat against novelist Salman Rushdie.
The diplomat in London said that Islamic cultural centers in Bradford, Leicester and Manchester and two in London were bases for Iranian and Lebanese members of Hezbollah, or Party of God, a pro-Iranian extremist group.He said Britain's MI5 counterespionage organization and Scotland Yard's anti-terrorist unit were aware of the training. Scotland Yard declined comment.
Rushdie has been in hiding since Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini told Moslem zealots on Feb. 14 he should die.
On Saturday, Hussein Musawi, the leader of a group allied with Hezbollah in Lebanon, called on Moslems in Britain to kill the 41-year-old author. Also Iran's president, Ali Khameini, reasserted his country's intention to punish Rushdie.
Speaking to reporters in Bucharest, Romania, where he ended an official visit Saturday, Khameini said, "One man allowed himself to insult the deepest feelings of millions of Moslems in the name of freedom. This is no longer freedom of thought but a crime, and that is why (Rushdie) has to be punished," he said.