Not much has been heard from British Muslim leader Omar Bakri Muhammad since he fled to Lebanon from Britian soon after the July terrorist attacks. Always a vocal proponent of terrorism, Muhammad has kept a low-profile since leaving London, but has recently resurfaced in an interview conducted by the paper Asharq Alawsat:
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.
Always a master of equivocation, Muhammad goes on to endorse jihad, with some caveats…
(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.
On a far less serious note, Muhammad discusses with his interviewer his future plans:
(Q) What are your plans in Lebanon? What will you do?
(A) First of all, I will rent an apartment to live in. Perhaps I will later buy a mule-driven cart and sell kerosene.
(Q) Seriously. Do you have any religious or educational plan for the future?
(A) I have a large belly. I will start by reducing my weight.