When American Muslim groups issued their fatwa condemning terrorism not long ago, I pointed out that all it did was condemn attacks against innocent civilians. This is not enough to make it a truly effective tool against Islamic terrorism, because jihadists argue that civilians in America, Britain, Israel, and anywhere they consider to be at war with Islam are not innocent. Here is the infamous British expat jihadist Omar Bakri affirming this notion in “Interview with Notorious Fundamentalist Omar Bakri” in Asharq Alawsat (thanks to Sr. Soph). Note also the strongly religious character of his contempt for the British Muslim establishment, and of his explanations for his actions.
(Q) Before leaving London, did you expect that you would be prevented from returning?
(A) Before leaving London, I held a news conference. It was recorded. I bid farewell to all our young men in London and kissed them goodbye. I left the news conference after saying that I would be leaving the day after tomorrow. I did not run away or disappear. I Left via Heathrow Airport where security measures are very strict and flew on the Lebanese Middle East Airlines. I decided to leave because the Muslim community in Britain is considered the voice, ears, and eyes of the British Government. This community allows itself to join the British intelligence, security, and army. Therefore, I consider them responsible before God because of their odd fatwas.
(Q) Do you blame the Muslim community in Britain?
(A) No, I accuse those recruited by the British Government and they have to account for their actions before God. Today after my Muslim brothers were killed, they turned against the others and the British Government accused them of being anti-Semitic. I expect they will receive blows on the head. They sold out their Muslim brothers and they themselves will be sold tomorrow….
(Q) Does your fight differ from that of other fundamentalists?
(A) I am a daring man. I used to say that British foreign policy is a hostile policy and Muslims must defend their countries against any British or US invasion, whether in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, or southern Lebanon. That is my position. I oppose British attempts to win the support of Muslims by saying that their forces in Iraq are friendly and allied forces. The British security authorities have officially asked the Islamic groups to make such statements. I will not give this concession because I consider it to be conceding my religion. My stance is clear. My brothers and the young Muslim men there will not accept such claims.
(Q) But you said that you are against killing innocent people and have nothing to do with the Al-Qaeda Organization. Now you are calling for jihad. How do you explain your position?
(A) I have often repeated that I am against the killing of innocent people anywhere in the world but who are the innocent? I keep the answer to myself.
(Q) Who do you define as innocent?
(A) The innocent people are specified by Islam. I denounce killing innocent people regardless of who kills them. However, who are the innocent? I do not have to explain this issue.
(Q) Does this mean that you support killing those whom you consider guilty and those whom Islam as you understand it describes as not innocent?
(A) I support what the Sunni Muslim youths in Lebanon believe in.
(Q) What about killing in general?
(A) Sister, I do not say that I support killing in general. You said that.
(Q) But you alluded to a classification of innocent people. Does this mean that you support jihad in certain areas because of things that are being done against Islam?
(A) Do you think that the Palestinian resistance is not right?
(Q) I am not giving an opinion, I am asking about your point of view.
(A) I am against killing innocent people and I repeat this everywhere. This is my personal position….