March 8, 2007 Special Dispatch No. 1493

Al-Arabiyya TV Director-General: ‘Why Do Islamist Extremists Who Incite Against the West Insist on Living There?’

March 8, 2007
Saudi Arabia | Special Dispatch No. 1493

In an article in the London daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, Al-Arabiyya TV Director-General Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashed criticized the hypocrisy of Islamist extremists who live and operate in the West. He said that while these extremists spread hatred for the West and incite against Western culture, at the same time they fight for the right to stay there. [1]

The following are excerpts:

"All of Them Want To [Live] In The West"

"The common denominator shared by Abu Qatada, [2] currently under arrest in Britain, Osama Nasser, who was kidnapped in Rome, [3] and Omar Bakri, who fled from London, [4] is that all of them want to [live] in the West, rather than in their native Islamic countries. Abu Qatada prefers to remain under arrest in Britain, and not to be deported to Jordan. The Italian imam Abu Omar Osama Al-Masri, who was kidnapped by the CIA [and taken] to Egypt, is likewise demanding to return to Milan, the fashion capital, and is even suing for financial compensation. As for the most famous of the three, [Omar] Bakri, he hurried to the airport and grabbed a flight to Lebanon when the [British] government prepared [to take] punitive measures against [individuals] who incite to violence. [But] now, after spending some time in his homeland, he is begging to return to London, despite all the [British] decisions, and despite all his statements against them.

"What makes fundamentalist extremists, who incite against the West and its culture, the first to run into its arms, and to fight [for the right] to stay there? Do they suffer from a split personality, with one [personality] endorsing an ideology of hate, and the other wanting to enjoy the principles [that form the basis] of life in the West? We have never heard of [these extremists] wanting to immigrate to Somalia or Pakistan, or [wanting to return] to their countries of origin. [This], despite all their sermons and writings about religious duty and love of the homeland, [and despite the fact that] they characterize others as 'infidels,' to the extent that some [extremists] even call to fight [these infidels]."

"[The Extremists] Are Enjoying All the Benefits of the Regime They Despise"

"What makes Omar Bakri, who enjoys liberty in Britain, spread hatred [against Britain], fight its culture, and say obscenely that [Britain] is a toilet in which he lives in order to defecate there? Does it make sense for someone like him to express a desire to return to Britain after everything he has said and done?

"As for Abu Qatada, he prefers to remain in prison and not to return to his homeland Jordan, just like [Osama Nasser], the imam from Milan, who is protesting about being taken to Egypt and about being imprisoned there. Not only is he protesting his abduction; he has also decided to sue for 20 million Euro in damages…

"It is blatantly obvious that all three are enjoying all the benefits of the [government] they despise: They want the financial aid, the security, the [rule of] law, the justice and the freedom of expression afforded by this government. Is this not the epitome of hypocrisy? When they preach, aren't they greatly deceiving their followers - [considering this discrepancy] between what they say and what they do?

"It is some of the extremist hate-mongers living in the West who are inciting the Muslims in the East against Western countries... - those [same] countries that have hosted them, given them protection and shelter, and in many cases also financed the education of their children, including their Islamic and Arabic language studies. It is also revolting to see writers denouncing the actions of [Western] governments that wish to get rid of the extremists by sending them back to their Islamic countries.

"Instead of demanding that the Arab [countries] mend their legal and security deficiencies, they ask the [Western] countries that have thrown out these extremists to spare them and to tolerate the ideological damage that they inflict upon their societies."

[1] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), March 1, 2007.

[2] Abu Qatada is the nickname of Omar Mahmoud ibn Omar, a Jordanian-born Palestinian who is currently under arrest in Britain on suspicion of affiliation with Al-Qaeda. He is currently facing extradition to Jordan.

[3] Osama Nasser, nicknamed Abu Omar Osama Al-Masri, was the imam of a mosque in Milan. In 2003, he was kidnapped by the CIA and taken to Cairo, where he was incarcerated for several years until his recent release.

[4] Omar Bakri, originally from Syria, headed the British-based Islamist organization Al-Muhajiroun, which has been banned under anti-terrorist legislation. Bakri left Britain and now resides in Beirut.

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