Erstwhile British jihadist Omar Bakri will have to settle for flying the black flag of Islam over Lebanon or the UAE, at least for now. “Transplanted Jihadi,” from Newsweek, with thanks to Scaramouche:
Aug. 17, 2005 – Radical imam Omar Bakri Mohammed, whose pro-Jihad agitation led British authorities last week to ban him from their shores, now is likely to set up a new base in either Lebanon or the United Arab Emirates, according to a close associate.
British officials disclosed last week that Bakri, founder of a controversial and now dissolved militant group known as Al Muhajiroun (The Immigrants) had been sent a letter informing him he would not be allowed to re-enter the U.K., his longtime country of residence. The Syrian-born preacher had left Britain for what initially was described as a vacation to Lebanon shortly after a wave of deadly suicide bombings of London’s transport system on July 7 and a second round of attempted attacks on July 21. In the wake of the attacks, Prime Minister Tony Blair’s government promised to curb the activities of preachers like Bakri, either by ejecting them from Britain or taking them off the streets through new antiterror legislation or regulations.
Bakri associate Abu Yahya, a Briton who described himself as a former Al Muhajiroun spokesman, told NEWSWEEK that when Bakri left for Lebanon, he “never planned to come back to the U.K. in the first place.” Bakri’s “ultimate aim” was to go to Pakistan, said Abu Yahya, who said that he and other British followers of Bakri were “in contact” with the imam. Now, however, Bakri is “most probably” going to stay in Lebanon, though it is possible he could also try to settle in the Persian Gulf emirates of Sharjah or Abu Dhabi, according to Abu Yahya, who is currently in Britain. “He’s a world-renowned figure. He has an international following … He’s going to continue his duties wherever he is.” Bakri was picked up by Lebanese authorities last week for questioning but was later released.
Only days before his departure from London, Bakri, whose proclivity for outrageous statements made him a favorite target for Britain’s raucous tabloids, declared that he would not inform the police if he knew that another cell of Muslim terrorists was planning a new attack on London. “I have said publicly, on the record, if I knew somebody was going to attack here, I will hold him, I will call the Muslims to hold him,” Bakri told Britain’s Channel 4 News, adding, “I would never tell the police. I am not working for the police. I would never, ever, tell the police about any Muslim. It is God-forbidden.”
That prohibition is based on Qur’an 4:92.