Preacher of hate plans return to Britain
Omar Bakri Mohammed, one of the Islamic extremists who faces possible treason charges over support for the London bombers, plans to come back to Britain after leaving at the weekend, he has said.
The spiritual leader of the al-Muhajiroun group - which is to be banned under anti-terror laws unveiled by Prime Minister Tony Blair on Friday - said he will return to London in four weeks.
Bakri, who was investigated by police over his allegedly inflammatory language but never charged, is currently in the Lebanese capital, Beirut.
John Prescott, the Deputy Prime Minister, said: "I just say 'Enjoy your holiday, make it a long one."'
Mr Prescott said Bakri was not welcome in Britain. He said: "I don't think he is welcome by many people in this country, is he?
"But at the moment he has the right to come in and out. That is the circumstances at present and we have to change situations in this country by law. It's a democracy, not a dictatorship, for God's sake."
Bakri left London on Saturday after it emerged he would face possible treason charges over support for the London bombings.
He told BBC Radio Five Live he had travelled to Lebanon of his own free will to visit family but planned to return in four weeks.
"I am going to return back in four weeks unless the Government say we are not welcome, because my family is in the UK.
"I left by my own passport. I do not think I will have any problem returning back to the UK but I do not want the Government to use the presence of Omar Bakri to change the rules."
He said he believed the Government was using him to put pressure on the Muslim community.
He added: "I wish for the British people to think about Islam. I wish as well that this Government will go back to its own sense, not changing its values because they do not know who committed the bombings in London."
Bakri denied he had called the July 7 bombers the "fantastic four" and said he condemned the atrocity.
"I never, ever spoke about the bombings in London. Fantastic Four is a film, nothing to do with the bombings. I never, ever talked about the bombings except to condemn the killing of innocent people."
The radical cleric sparked outrage last week when he said he would not inform police if he knew Muslims were planning a bomb attack on a train in the UK and supported Muslims who attacked British troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Asked whether he would inform police if he knew a Muslim was planning to commit a crime, he said his faith does not allow him to do so.
"I will never report to the police any Muslim because Islam forbids me. Definitely I would stop him whatever the cost, even if it cost me my life. That is my duty as a Muslim.
"My religion forbids me to report a Muslim to the British police. I believe Islam is superior and nothing supersedes it but we can live with you in harmony," he said