July 12, 2006 Special Dispatch No. 1203

Exiled British Islamist Sheikh Omar bin Bakri in Beirut: We Will See the Banner of Islam ‘Flying Over Big Ben and the British Parliament’

July 12, 2006
Lebanon | Special Dispatch No. 1203

Sheikh Omar bin Bakri, Syrian-born British Islamist and former leader of the Islamist "Al-Muhajirun" organization in Britain, whose activities in Britain were stopped in October 2005, now resides in Beirut. In an interview, Sheikh Omar bin Bakri told the London daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat that he would not consider returning to Britain until it "repealed its terrorist laws through which it terrorizes peaceful Muslims in Britain" and that "loyal Muslims in Britain will one day turn it, with Allah's help, into 'Islamistan.'" He also repeated statements he had made in 2001 about the "banner of Islam" flying over British landmarks and government buildings. [1]

The following are excerpts from the interview: [2]

Question: "Do you still stand by your previous fatwas, and in particular the one forbidding the handing over of information concerning terrorists?"

Omar Bakri: "The handing over of information concerning Muslims - whether they are those who fight jihad for the sake of Allah or just plain Muslims - to the British or American police or to any other infidel or apostate security force [i.e. those of Arab or Muslim states], is a forbidden act according to the shari'a. This is one of the severe forms of heresy that removes one from the [fold of the] religion [of Islam]. This is because this is a kind of aid to the infidels against the Muslims, and Allah said: 'Whosoever among you befriends them, he is [like] one of them [Koran 5:51].'"

Question: "Are you thinking of returning to Britain?"

Bakri: "I am not thinking of returning to Britain as long as it does not repeal its terrorist laws through which it terrorizes peaceful Muslims in Britain under the pretext of fighting terrorism. For someone like me to return is forbidden according to the shari'a, since this instance falls into the category of 'one who gives himself up as a prisoner.' Islam forbids one to give oneself up as a prisoner… to infidels."

Question: "Don't you feel today that you have become isolated from the Islamic mainstream in Britain?"

Bakri: "Perhaps [today], with my being outside of Britain, I am even closer to the Islamic mainstream than in the past, but I am as far away as can be from the hypocritical stream [of Islam] that sold its religion and its [Islamic] nation for a bit of money in order to appease the British authorities and [acquire] government jobs under the name of the British Islamic Council [the Arabic name for the Muslim Council of Britain]."

Question: "What do you recommend to the British Muslim youth and to your students who are far away from you?"

Bakri: "I recommend to the Muslim youth in general, and to my beloved students in particular, that they not assimilate into the pagan [jahili] British society, [but at the same time] not distance themselves from people. They should preach for the sake of Allah, they should command good and forbid evil, they should obey Allah and distance themselves from infidels and polytheists, and [distance themselves] from their customs, traditions, and laws, and stay true to the Koran and the Sunna in accordance with the understanding of the first believers in Muhammad's generation."

Question: "In your opinion, has 'Londonistan' come to an end and its gates been closed?"

Bakri: "What is today called 'Londonistan' is in fact 'Heretistan,' that is, dar al-kufr [the abode of heresy]. I think that loyal Muslims in Britain will one day turn it, with Allah's help, into 'Islamistan,' that is dar al-islam [the abode of Islam], as the first Muslims did in Ethiopia and in Indonesia. Then the great Islamic dream will be fulfilled - that we will see the banner [proclaiming] 'There is no God but Allah' flying over Big Ben and the British Parliament, with Allah's help."

Question: "Do you think that London is still safe today, after most of the sheikhs of the fundamentalist movement have disappeared from it?"

Bakri: "I think that the presence of 'ulama and preachers from the Islamic movement was a safety valve for Britain, and not the opposite, like some naïve people think. Britain is not considered safe, not since the anti-terror laws were passed in 2002. There is no doubt that the disappearance, arrest, or expulsion of the majority of the 'ulama and the preachers will make Britain an unsafe country subject to [risk of] attacks by those who think that it must be fought because it is participating alongside the U.S. in the global Crusader campaign of fighting Islam and the Muslims."

[1] For more on Sheikh Omar bin Bakri, see MEMRI Inquiry and Analysis No. 73, " Radical Islamist Profiles (2): Sheikh Omar Bakri Muhammad - London," October 24, 2001, Radical Islamist Profiles (2): Sheikh Omar Bakri Muhammad - London.

[2] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), July 7, 2006. Sheikh Omar bin Bakri left Britain following the July 7, 2005 London bombings, and his Muharijun movement disbanded. In its place arose the Ghruaba movement, led by Abu 'Izz Al-Din, Sheikh Omar's former student and a Jamaican convert to Islam.

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