By Dr. Jeremy Reynalds
July 24, 2006 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - Radical Muslim cleric Omar Bakri Mohammed, banned from the United Kingdom, has attempted to board a ship evacuating Britons from Lebanon.
When refused, he fled to the hills outside Beirut in fear of Israeli air strikes.
Bakri Mohammed argued he should be allowed back to the UK to see his children, but was turned away by British officials. The former leader of the banned terror-supporting al-Muhajiroun group was banned from the UK in August last year because his presence ?was not conducive to the public good."
The Royal Navy is evacuating thousands of Britons from the crisis region.
Bakri told the BBC, ?They (the Royal Navy) said, ?Sorry, the only people who will be in the boat are those who have British citizenship and those who've got British passports. I was living in the UK for over 20 years and I have never been granted British citizenship because of my political views, whereas my family were granted and this is really the difference" (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/5202018.stm).
British Home Secretary John Reid said Bakri would not be allowed to return to the U.K. He said, ?Mr. Bakri's presence here is not, in my view, conducive to the public good, so he's not going to be allowed back into Britain."
Bakri Mohammed had indefinite permission to remain in Britain since the 1980?s after gaining political asylum, but that was cancelled last year by the then Home Secretary Charles Clarke. The decision did not affect his family, including seven children who were born in the U.K.
Foreign Office Minister Lord Triesman, who is in Cyprus to observe the arrival of evacuated Britons, said he thought Bakri Mohammed was trying to gain publicity.
?The decision was taken by the home secretary that his presence in the United Kingdom was not conducive given his attitudes and given the way he's spoken of this country, the United Kingdom," news media reported Triesman said.
He added, ?It was not conducive for the well-being of the country. We've got about 30 immigration officers from the Home Office processing people who've got legitimate visas and no doubt they will be taking appropriate decisions but so far as I'm aware, he's made no application whatever to us to come in any case. It's a bit of theater to be candid with you."
But others don?t agree with Triesman?s assessment..
In a recent e-mail interview with Dominic Whiteman, spokesman for the London-based private network of terror trackers known as Vigil, he explained, ?what we?ve heard from inside the offshoot groups of al Muhajiroun is a lot of disappointment. Bakri lectures to them every week online through the Paltalk Network chatroom, ?Followers of al sunnahwaa jamaah" and tells them that he?s a jihadist; that he?s brave, that he would happily die for Allah. Yet his followers were shocked that he?s attempted to flee from Beirut because of some rumor that the Israelis know where he is, have his address as a bombing target and are after him."
Whiteman added, ?And this on top of him fleeing from Britain this time last year when he heard he could go to jail because the British authorities were dragging up some old treason laws to convict him with. They are unimpressed, especially the younger members of the groups who are the ones who end up going on the suicide missions for these clerics, like Bakri, who are all talk."
When asked if the Israeli?s had Bakri?s address in Beirut, Whiteman said by e-mail, ?If they didn?t know before, they now know that Bakri has fled in the last 12 hours into the hills from his Beirut apartment in fear of their bombs. He?s staying in the mountain town of Aley, above Beirut, at a place called the Highland hotel. Moreover the Israeli authorities and a friend in the Israeli air force now have some private recordings of Bakri and his ranting acolytes from as recently as two days ago," continued Whiteman," which call for all Muslims to force Israel out of Muslim land, saying Israel is not a country, and that it is the duty of all Muslims to fight them physically, verbally and financially, to hate all Jews whether they are in Israel or not."
Whiteman said cynically, ?These recordings may prove inspirational!"
In a recent interview with BBC Radio, a pleading Bakri said that Britain should accept him ?on humanitarian grounds."
Vigil?s normally deadly serious Whiteman said this brought a faint smile to his face.
?There is a belief amongst these radicals that by lying in public about their private intentions they can further their true goals - in this case Bakri?s dream of a totalitarian Taliban-like Islamic state," he said.
Whiteman added, ?Vigil, the British Crown Prosecution service and the UK authorities have recordings of Bakri from as recently as June calling for followers to wage jihad in the UK. And refuge for him on humanitarian grounds? I guess by this he means it would be humanitarian of the British to take him to Britain, jail him under the new terrorism act there and thus silence him from the world. That would be humanitarian indeed, perhaps the greatest service that the British have done to mankind since jailing cleric Abu Hamza last year."
© 2006 Dr. Jeremy Reynalds, all rights reserved.