EDMONTON MUSLIM CLERIC HATE
Cleric supports targeting children
By Rajeev Syal
An extremist Islamic cleric based in Britain said yesterday that he would support hostage-taking at British schools if carried out by terrorists with a just cause.
Omar Bakri Mohammed, the spiritual leader of the extremist sect al-Muhajiroun, said that holding women and children hostage would be a reasonable course of action for a Muslim who has suffered under British rule.
In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, Mr Mohammed said: "If an Iraqi Muslim carried out an attack like that in Britain, it would be justified because Britain has carried out acts of terrorism in Iraq.
"As long as the Iraqi did not deliberately kill women and children, and they were killed in the crossfire, that would be okay."
Mr Mohammed, 44, who lives in Edmonton, north London, but is originally from Syria, also claimed that the Chechen rebels were not responsible for the deaths of more than 350 people - at least half of them children - who are so far known to have died in Beslan.
"The Mujahideen [Chechen rebels] would not have wanted to kill those people, because it is strictly forbidden as a Muslim to deliberately kill women and children. It is the fault of the Russians," he said.
The father of seven came to Britain in 1985 after being deported from Saudi Arabia because of his membership of a banned group. He has since been given leave by the Home Office to remain in Britain for five years but the Government is reviewing his status.
He gave an interview yesterday to promote a "celebratory" conference in London next Saturday to commemorate the third anniversary of the September 11 attacks.
Andrew Dismore, the Labour MP for Hendon, was infuriated by Mr Mohammed's comments. "That sounds to me like incitement and I will report him to Scotland Yard," he said. "It is an insult to most moderate Muslims, who are sick of people like this claiming to represent them."
06/08/05 - News section
Deportation not fair, says extremist (on
by GRAEME WILSON, Daily Mail
An extreme Muslim cleric whose family have been living on benefits in Britain for 20 years says it would not be 'fair' to deport him.
Speaking after the Prime Minister announced his clampdown, father-of-seven Sheik Omar Bakri said: "I have wives, children, sons-in-law, daughters-in-law. It would be hard on my family if I was deported."
Since Syrian-born Bakri settled in Britain, he and his extended family have raked in benefits amounting to at least £300,000.
He is registered disabled because of an injury to his leg during his childhood, and was recently supplied with a £31,000 Ford Galaxy under the Motability scheme.
Bakri, who lives in a £200,000 home in North London, tops up his £250-a-week benefit payments with an extra £50 incapacity allowance.
He has praised the September 11 terrorists as 'magnificent', called Israel 'a cancer' and said homosexuals should be 'thrown from Big Ben'.
In January, he declared that Britain had become a 'land of war', and called on Muslims to unite behind Al Qaeda. He has supported suicide bombings and urged his followers to kill non-Muslims ' wherever, whenever'.
He also claimed he has no wish to stay in Britain, but his family would suffer if he was deported.
"If they want to change the law and say that people who are here must live within the framework of those rules, then that is fine," said the 45-year-old cleric.
"But they cannot punish people by backdating it for 20 years or so.
"That is not a smart or fair system. Tony Blair should have charged me years ago if that was the case. He did not because I had done nothing wrong."
Bakri also claimed he had tried to dissuade affected young Muslims from carrying out terror attacks in Britain, by telling them that under Islamic law it would be wrong to target a country in which they were living.
'You're going to go back'
Blair unveiled the tough crackdown on those who inspire Islamic terrorism and pledged to amend the Human Rights Act if the courts try to use it to block deportations.
Speaking in Downing Street, Mr Blair said he is ready to recall Parliament next month to drive the new laws through as quickly as possible.
He declared: "Let no one be in any doubt that the rules of the games are changing. People can't come here and abuse our good nature and our tolerance.
"They can't come here and start inciting our young people in communities to take up violence against British people here. And if you do that, you're going to go back."
The proposals include:
• Deporting foreigners who foster hate, or advocate or justify violence.
•Throwing out those linked to extremist websites, groups, bookshops or centres.
• Banning foreign extremist preachers from Britain.
•Closing mosques and places of worship if used for 'fomenting extremism'.
•Outlawing worldwide the condoning or glorifying of terrorism.
• Refusing asylum to anyone linked to terrorism.
• Stripping citizenship from extremist naturalised Britons.
• Banning extremist Islamic groups Hizb ut Tahrir and Al-Muhajiroun.
Previous attempts to deport Islamic hardliners have been derailed because judges have ruled they could face torture in countries such as Jordan, Algeria or Lebanon - and that would breach the European Convention on Human Rights.
Mr Blair said he hoped the courts would allow deportations if Britain can get pledges from the ten countries involved that deportees will not be maltreated. French and Spanish courts allow such deportations.
And he made clear he is ready for a 'battle' with the courts. "Should legal obstacles arise, we will legislate further, including, if necessary, amending the Human Rights Act in respect of the interpretation of the ECHR."
Why was action not taken sooner?
In addition, ministers will introduce laws to allow appeals against deportation to be heard after a person has been thrown out.
And a maximum time limit will be imposed on cases to extradite terror suspects from Britain to other countries.
Mr Blair highlighted the case of Rachid Ramda, wanted by the French for the Paris bombings in 1995, but still in a British jail. It was 'totally unacceptable' that his case had dragged on for ten years.
The Government's intelligence and security co-ordinator Bill Jeffrey will head a unit of senior officials who will drive the crackdown through. Mr Blair also entered the debate on multi-culturalism, saying it is vital different communities are properly integrated.
He said he was 'worried' when he heard about people who had lived in Britain for 20 years but still did not speak English.
"There is a problem when people withdraw from the common culture and become separate in a very deliberate way - that's unhealthy," he said.
He was confident most Muslims would accept the new measures. "They know perfectly well these people are a menace to their own community, never mind to the rest of us."
His message contrasts with that of his lawyer wife Cherie last week, when she warned it would be "all too easy to respond to such terror in a way which undermines commitment to our most deeply-held values".
And Mr Blair ducked questions about why ministers had not acted sooner against hardliners.
He instead argued that Labour had faced fierce resistance in Parliament and the courts against previous anti-terror laws. "If I had come forward with these measures three or four months ago, I think it would have been a little more difficult."
But concern about failure to address the issue sooner was voiced earlier by Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair. "It may have been better if it was done before - but let's do it now," he told GMTV.
Last night, shadow home secretary David Davis said of the proposed clampdown: "It is vital that the Home Secretary is able to use his powers to deport or exclude non-UK citizens who threaten our national security - we have been calling for him to use these for some time. There is no reason why they cannot be applied as soon as possible."
But Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy criticised the lack of consultation - and warned that Muslims could be alienated.
The Muslim Council of Britain said it could support some of the proposals, but criticised the decision to ban Hizb ut Tahrir as "undermining our own democratic values".
Shami Chakrabarti, director of civil liberties group Liberty, condemned the deportation plans.
"You do not deport people to places where they would face torture, and self-serving agreements and statements by governments that are not democratic are not going to cut it," she said.
Bruce Holder, chairman of the Bar Council's public affairs committee, criticised Mr Blair's pledge to amend the Human Rights Act.
"There can be no justification for suspending basic human rights when even other countries in Europe who are signatories to the European Convention on Human Rights are bound by the decisions of that court," he declared.
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