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Sunday, August 07, 2005

Undercover journalist records words of Islamist preachers in the aftershock of London bombings

After reading this article, published on Times newspaper, I wonder how long it will take to UK lawmakers and government to set the activities described in it illegal, and how long it will take them to kick people like Omar Bakri out of UK.

Omar Bakri Mohammed
In the days preceeding and following the July 7th and July 21st London attacks, a Times reporter joined the "Saviour Sect" islamist group to hear and record words of hate, spanning from those of their leader, the infamous Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed, to those of the members of the sect.

The result of weeks of investigation is a scaring yet very interesting tale.

Link

Here are some excerpts:

On a Friday evening late in July a small group of young Asian men gathered secretly in the grounds of a Victorian manor house on the edge of Epping Forest, east of London, to listen to their master.

(...) Among them was an undercover reporter from The Sunday Times.

(...) a property run as a bed-and-breakfast and campsite by Newham borough council, was chosen (...)

Earlier that day police had arrested the remaining three suspects for the failed 21/7 London bombing. (...)

At 8pm a bulky figure with a long beard and flowing white robe picked his way across the open field in the twilight with the aid of a walking stick. Two hours late, Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed had finally arrived.

A Syrian with seven children who has lived on benefits for 18 years, this extremist cleric has been investigated by police for using inflammatory language but he has never been prosecuted.

(...)

During a two-month undercover investigation The Sunday Times has amassed hours of taped evidence and pages of transcripts which show how Bakri and his acolytes promote hatred of “non-believers” and “egg” their followers on to commit acts of violence, including suicide bombings.

The evidence details how his group, the Saviour Sect, preaches a racist creed of Muslim supremacy which, in the words of Bakri, aims at one day “flying the Islamic flag over Downing Street”.

In his two months with the sect, our reporter witnessed a gang of Bakri’s followers brutally beating up a Muslim who challenged their views. He listened as a succession of “religious leaders” ridiculed moderate Muslims and repeatedly justified war against the “kuffar” — non-Muslims.

(...)

At their meetings — which often included school-age teenagers — they were fed a constant diet of propaganda warning that the kuffar are out to destroy them.

Integration with British society is scorned, as is any form of democratic process. Followers are encouraged to exploit the benefits system. They avoid jobs which could bring them into contact with western women or might lead them to contribute to the economy of a nation they are taught to despise.

(...)


The undercover reporter, who has a Muslim background, first approached the group as a potential convert in June, three weeks before the first London attack. Posing as a university graduate who was disaffected because he could not find a job, he introduced himself to members of the Saviour Sect (...)

The sect and its interchangeable sister organisation, Al-Ghuraaba, were created after Bakri claimed to have closed down his militant extremist group Al-Muhajiroun last October.

The activities of Al-Muhajiroun, which notoriously praised the September 11, 2001 hijackers as the “Magnificent 19”, had been extensively investigated by anti-terrorist police. However, as The Sunday Times discovered, the Saviour Sect and Al-Ghuraaba were Al-Muhajiroun in all but name.

The sect came to prominence during the general election in April when it launched an intimidatory campaign against fellow Muslims to stop them voting. They were captured on film yelling and attacking members at a meeting of the mainstream Muslim Council of Britain.
Bakri was the star attraction that night. Under bright fluorescent lights, he preached to the 50-strong audience about the need for a violent struggle to defend Muslims who, he claimed, were under constant attack.
George Galloway, the Respect party MP for Bethnal Green, east London, claimed that they made death threats against him when they disrupted one of his election campaign meetings, shouting him down as a “false prophet”. (...)

They invited the reporter to attend one of their meetings that evening. It was to be the first of many lectures and sermons that he attended. (...) minutes Muhid, 22, was explaining that most new recruits were former heroin addicts who had found salvation.

Another man, Nasser, (...) implored our reporter to “unlearn” the brand of Islam that he had been taught as a child and to adopt a new approach.

It was important to be unemployed, Nasser said, as taking a job would contribute to the kuffar system.

He said he was receiving a jobseeker’s allowance and justified this by saying the prophet Muhammad also lived off the state and attacked it at the same time.

There were other ways to opt out. “All the brothers drive without insurance,” Nasser said proudly.

Bakri (...) preached to the 50-strong audience about the need for a violent struggle to defend Muslims who, he claimed, were under constant attack.

With a new member in the audience, he added carefully that he was not actually “inciting anyone to violence in the UK”. But the violence was not far away. The following afternoon the reporter witnessed an Asian man being beaten by members of the Saviour Sect for “insulting” their version of Islam.

(...) Up to seven members of the sect jumped on the man and began kicking him as he lay on the floor. A late intervention by one of the other stallholders gave him the opportunity to escape — his face swollen and bleeding.

Unabashed, one of group, dressed in an Arabic shawl, shouted out to onlookers: “You should not feel sorry for him. He is a kuffar and deserves it.” (...)

Later that day it emerged that the man who had been assaulted had been a member of the moderate Young Muslim Organisation and was also a supporter of Galloway’s Respect party.

On July 3, Sheikh Omar Brooks of Al-Ghuraaba addressed the group at its Saturday night lecture.

(...) He said that it was imperative for Muslims to “instil terror into the hearts of the kuffar”.

(...) It was not just our reporter’s group who were present. Schoolchildren in T-shirts bearing the words “mujaheddin” and “warriors of Allah” listened intently as Brooks said he did not wish to die “like an old woman” in bed.

“I want to be blown into pieces,” he declared, “with my hands in one place and my feet in another.”

He told the audience that it was a Muslim’s duty to stay apart from the rest of society: “Never mix with them. Never let your children play with their children.”
He added: “This hall is like our fortress against the kuffar and the so-called Muslims like the McB (the Muslim Council of Britain).”

Warming to his theme, he said: “They will build bridges and we will break them; they will build tall buildings and we will bring them down.” The audience rippled with laughter at the obvious reference to September 11, 2001.

Nasser’s brother, “Mr Islam” — believed to be Islam Uddin — (...) told the audience that Islam was a religion of violence and that Muhammad was the “prophet of slaughter, not peace”. He said Muslims must not be defeatist as “even now the brothers in Iraq are sending British, American and Iraqi colluders back in body bags”.

As his three-year-old son played at his side, he launched into a bitter racist attack. The Jews, he said, were “the most disgusting and greedy people on earth”.

Four days after this meeting, on July 7, London was hit by the first wave of suicide bombings. Immediately the spotlight was thrown onto extremist Muslim groups and, in particular, those linked to Bakri.

The sheikh avoided difficult questions about the attacks by refusing to answer his telephone. He advised all his followers to do the same in the case they incriminated themselves. The sect closed down its meetings and stopped leaflet campaigns, fearing reprisals.

While he was saying nothing publicly, Bakri did, however, address a private meeting held for prayers at the Selby Centre in Wood Green, north London.

Before the prayers started, our reporter joined a small group of men (...) in a circle with Bakri.

Bakri sighed. “So, London under attack,” he said. Then, leaning forward, he added: “Between us, for the past 48 hours I’m very happy.”

In his sermon during the prayer meeting he said that the July 7 attacks would make people “stand up and listen”.

Turning to concerns that “poor” people had been attacked in the bus bomb, he argued that this was permissible because the British Army was drawn from lower-income groups.

The congregation was instructed to avoid expressing disapproval of the attacks. “If you cannot support what has happened, then at least don’t condemn it,” Bakri said. If anyone were to ask what they felt about it, they should answer that as Muslims they have no “feelings”, “ideas” or “personal judgment”.

A member of the congregation who had brought along his two children told the reporter after the sermon that the British could now feel the fear experienced every day by Muslims. Another said that the bombs were “a good start” and asked Allah to “bless those involved”.

The extent of the indoctrination of the members of the Saviour Sect became even clearer during the two weeks in July which saw the failed second attempt to bomb the London transport system.

During the twice-weekly lectures and Friday prayers, men who had struggled to find jobs and, in some cases, had drifted into drug abuse, were told that as true believers they were better than non-Muslims.

“The toe of the Muslim brothers is better than all the kuffar on the earth,“ Bakri said in one sermon. “Islam is superior, nothing supersedes it and the Muslim is superior.”

Other regular speakers claimed that Islam was constantly under attack in Britain — and that the best form of defence was attack.

One, who called himself Zachariah, claimed that the kuffar were trying to “wipe out (Muslims) from the face of the earth”. He implored the group “to cover the land with our blood through martyrdom, martyrdom, martyrdom”.

Zachariah preached that the non-believers were dispensable: “They’re kuffar. They’re not people who are innocent. The people who are innocent are the people who are with us or those who are living under the Islamic state.”

Another preacher, Abu Yahya, who is also reported to go by the name of Abdul Rahman Saleem, (...) said: “It says in the Koran that we must try as much as we can to terrorise the enemy . . . we terrorise those people who terrorise us.” His message to Britain was: “Because you’re a genuine democracy, all of you are liable.”

(...) Nasser told our reporter not to worry about those who died in the London attacks. They were, he said, “collateral damage” and they were kuffar anyway.

This is not, of course, something that they would say in public. When Bakri finally commented publicly on the bomb attacks, he condemned the deaths of “innocents”. But this was not quite the remorse it seemed.

At Friday prayers, (...) in the preamble to the sermon he referred to the bombers as the “fantastic four”. He explained that his lament for the “innocent” applied only to Muslims. It was a linguistic sleight of hand which he summarised as: “Yes I condemn killing any innocent people, but not any kuffar.”

In the wake of the bombings, politicians and police have become increasingly concerned that groups such as the Saviour Sect are radicalising disaffected young men into potential terrorists.

On Friday the prime minister said that the successor groups of Al-Muhajiroun, including the Saviour Sect, could be banned under new anti-terrorist proposals.

At a hastily arranged press conference in Chingford, Essex, in response to the proposals, Bakri said the Al-Muhajiroun group had never supported terror attacks in the UK.

(...) . Zachariah weighed in with a new bloodcurdling sermon at Friday prayers at the Selby Centre.

(...) “Tony Blair is a Christian. He went to the Pope to praise him . . . and he went to Iraq for only one reason. Because of his ancestors who worked so hard to destroy Islam from the face of the earth.

“To dismantle Islam. To divide and rule . . . him and his ancestors worked hard from the crusaders in the beginning and then their empire building, installing their proxy leaders.”