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Anger over Gandhi tag on Osama

Colombo, Feb. 26 (PTI): Attempts by an Arabic newspaper editor to compare Osama bin Laden with Mahatma Gandhi drew strong reactions at a Commonwealth press meet here today.

Abdul Bari Atwan, editor of the London-based Al-Quds al-Arabi, one of the few journalists to have interviewed bin Laden, said the al Qaida chief “reminded me of Gandhi, a prince of peace. Like a man who has given up all his possessions to take up a cause.”

However, the comparison drew protests from Indian scribe Kuldip Nayar, participating in the biennial Commonwealth Press Union conference, who sprung to his feet saying: “Don’t drag people who are not here (into the argument).”

Atwan also described the mastermind of the September 2001 terrorist attacks on the US as “a man of average intelligence,” but with good manners. He said bin Laden “hated” Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein more than the US .

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