Many Muslim organizations have condemned the attack. However, they have no programs in place to teach young Muslims against Bakri’s understanding of Islam. “Exiled cleric who taught UK knifeman praises ‘courage,'” by Dominic Evans for Reuters, May 24 (thanks to Block Ness):
TRIPOLI, Lebanon (Reuters) – A Syrian-born Islamist cleric who taught one of the men accused of hacking to death an off-duty British soldier on a London street praised the attack for its “courage” and said Muslims would see it as a strike on a military target.
In an interview in Tripoli, northern Lebanon, where he has lived since being banished from Britain in 2005, Omar Bakri, founder of banned British Islamist group Al Muhajiroun, said he knew suspect Michael Adebolajo from his lectures a decade ago.
“When I saw the footage I recognized the face immediately,” Bakri told Reuters. “I used to know him. A quiet man, very shy, asking lots of questions about Islam.”
“What surprised me (is) the quiet man, the man who is very shy, decided to carry out an attack against a British soldier in the middle of the day in the middle of a street in the UK. In east London. It’s incredible.
“When I saw that, honestly I was very surprised – standing firm, courageous, brave. Not running away. Rather, he said why he carried (it out) and he wanted the whole world to hear it.”
The attack has been vociferously condemned by Muslim organizations across Britain.
Adebolajo, 28, a British-born convert from a Christian Nigerian immigrant family, went by the nickname Mujahid – warrior – after taking up Islam as a teenager in a suburb on the northeast outskirts of London.
He was filmed with his hands still covered with the blood of Afghan war veteran Lee Rigby, 25, after the attack. Clutching a butcher’s knife and meat cleaver, he said the killing was revenge for British participation in wars in foreign countries.
He and a second knife-wielding attacker, Nigerian-born naturalized British citizen Michael Adebowale, 22, are in hospital after being shot by police during their arrest. They have yet to be charged. Police have also arrested another man and a woman under suspicion of conspiracy to murder.
“WE DON’T SLEEP ON OUR GRIEVANCES”
The interview with Bakri in his flat in the Abu Samra district of Tripoli was twice interrupted by his infant son Osama, who broke into the room playing with a plastic toy. The boy was named after slain al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
“He is supposed to go fight (U.S. President Barack) Obama in the future, and maybe to deal with the Obama of his times. We called him after… Sheikh Osama,” Bakri said, smiling often as he spoke but lacing light-hearted comments with hints of menace.
After a photographer took his picture, the bearded Bakri, wearing a black cloak over white trousers and white leather shoes, mockingly adopted a threatening pose.
“We know the media, they just want evil pictures,” he said. “But we are going to be in power soon… Don’t think that we sleep on our grievances. That Michael, after 10 years, he killed (the soldier) in front of everyone … Was he a man or not?”
“The prophet (Mohammad) said an infidel and his killer will not meet in Hell. That’s a beautiful saying,” he said. “May God reward (Adebolajo) for his actions.”…