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Controversial religious leader defends terror


Category : News
Date : 05.04.2004
Printable version


Britain's Suicide Bombers: The Real Story, 7.30pm, BBC ONE, Monday 5 April 2004

 

A BBC programme has discovered that despite the actions of the police and security forces some Muslims resident in Britain are preparing to take up arms, many influenced by Omar Bakri, leader of the controversial al Muhajiroun group.


The radical leader has recently defended the Madrid bombers and told young British Muslims, some as young as ten, that they must "kill and be killed" for Islam; that "suicide bombers would be guaranteed a place in paradise"; and even that they should consider "flying a plane into 10 Downing Street".


Despite calls last week from the Muslim Council of Britain for all Muslims to oppose terror and report suspicious activity, an investigation by BBC reporter Paul Kenyon for Real Story With Fiona Bruce has revealed that Omar Bakri and his followers regularly endorse and encourage terrorism.


At an east London meeting organised by al Muhajiroun the programme recorded Omar Bakri defending the Madrid bombers.

 

Referring to the continued presence of British Spanish and US forces in Iraq he told the audience: "What happened in Madrid is all revenge. Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, life for life. Anybody (that) commits a crime he should be punished – that's exactly what happened in relation to Spain."

 

"Objective number one – break the psychology of the occupier by hitting back in their homeland. To be worried about their own wives and loved ones."


He instructs his followers to take direct action.


"Prepare as much as you can from strength and from force to terrorise - because terrorism it is part of Islam."


At an earlier meeting the BBC recorded Omar Bakri encouraging members of his British audience to become suicide bombers.


"Martyrdom is what you want. Do the effort. Clear your intention. Go forward, never look backwards. Make sure you have nothing left behind you to think about or cry for and fight in the name of Allah."


He refers to suicide missions as self sacrifice operations.


"So what is self sacrifice operation? It's got to be the following scenario. Somebody he fly aeroplane and he decide to land the aeroplane over 10 Downing Street, for example, or over the White House. This is a form of self-sacrifice operation."


Omar Bakri's version of Islam is disputed by most Muslims. But some of his former students have translated his words into action.

 

Omar Sharif from Derby was part of the two man suicide operation responsible last year for a suicide bomb attack in Tel Aviv. Three people were murdered.


One of Omar Bakri's followers, 24-year-old Hassan Butt from Manchester, tells the programme that he "envies" the Madrid bombers and that he too would like to become a martyr.

 

"It is my hope that by the age of 40 I am a martyr – and if I hadn't I would probably be a bit dejected in not being among the martyrs of Islam," says Butt.


He's already been arrested twice under the Terrorism Act.

 

Asked if he's prepared to follow other British Muslims to a terror training camp, Hassan Butt says he'd be "honoured" and that he would have his mother's support.


Mainstream Muslims point out that numerically al Muhajiroun are not very strong.

 

However, on Sunday 21 March 800 Muslims attended a meeting addressed by Omar Bakri held at Derby County Football Club.


At one point they watched a video showing attacks on iconic American buildings set to a chant imploring Muslims to fight a Holy war.


Derby County Football Club said they respected freedom of speech, but were keen to ensure their name was not used to endorse any political or religious view.


Conservative Home Affairs spokesman Patrick Mercer, himself a former army intelligence officer, has studied the BBC recordings of Omar Sheik.

 

He believes that Omar Bakri's preaching is very worrying.

 

"We do have freedom of speech but to a limit, here's a man praising what went on in Madrid a few days ago, praising the death of 200 and the injuries of over 1,000.

 

"If that sort of tosh is being said to youngsters who are impressionable then it is bound to encourage violence and murder," says Patrick Mercer MP.


Notes to Editors

 

J-pegs of Hassan Butt and Omar Bakri are available.

 

Please credit all quotes to Real Story, 7.30pm, BBC ONE, Monday 5 April.



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Category : News
Date : 05.04.2004
Printable version

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