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Militant Islam Monitor > Articles > Bakri barred from UK - arrested in Lebanon -Syria wants him turned over for 1980 offences

Bakri barred from UK - arrested in Lebanon -Syria wants him turned over for 1980 offences

Mixed reports speak of Bakri's imminent release and extradition to Syria
August 12, 2005

MIM: Bakri's arrogance and malevolent buffoonery may have played well in the UK but he seems to have miscalculated his fellow Muslim's accomodation of him and his activities. Bakri was arrested after giving an interview to Lebanese television and his native Syria is demanding that he be turned over to them. Unlike the British, whose government subsidised and tolerated Bakri's subversion for decades,(and has announced they will continue to subsidise his wife and children in the UK) the Syrians have a long memory, and want to prosecute him for 'past events in Syria in the 1980's".

Two unsubstantiated reports say that Bakri's release is imminent while others say that Syria is demanding that Bakri, who holds both Syrian and Lebanese citizenship, be extradited to them.


BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) - Lebanon's prosecutor general has ordered the release of fundamentalist Muslim cleric Omar Bakri, the state-run news agency reported Friday.

The National News Agency said Judge Said Mirza ordered Bakri's release after it appeared that there was no case against him and he was not wanted for anything.

Bakri, whom Britain has barred from returning to its territory, was arrested on Thursday by the General Security.

It was not immediately clear whether the release had taken place.



BEIRUT (Reuters) - A Lebanese prosecutor ordered on Friday the release of British-based radical Muslim cleric Omar Bakri Mohammed, 24 hours after he was detained in Beirut, judicial sources said.

They said Bakri was expected to be released shortly after General Prosecutor Saeed Meerza issued the order.

MIM: It seems highly unlikely that the aforementioned release took place given that Bakri is a media hound and it might well be that authorities are considering Syria's request. Bakri fled Syria in the 1980's fearing prosecution and must be regretting his flight from the relatively cushy jail conditions he might have faced in Britain to the prison accomodations he can expect from his co religionists and compatriots in his homeland.


Cleric Bakri barred from Britain

Omar Bakri Mohammed Bakri Mohammed praised the 9/11 attacks on the US
Radical Islamic preacher Omar Bakri Mohammed has been excluded from the UK.

The Home Office said Home Secretary Charles Clarke used existing powers to exclude Mr Mohammed as his presence was "not conducive to the public good".

The cleric is being held by the Lebanese authorities in Beirut, it is believed at the request of Syria.

He was seized after a TV interview in which he said he would not return to Britain as a persona non grata, only as a visitor.

The preacher left the UK six days ago on what he described as a holiday to see his mother in Beirut.

Family 'unaffected'

The self-styled "sheikh" ran the radical al-Muhajiroun group from Tottenham, north London, until it was disbanded last year.

He is famous for praising the 9/11 hijackers as the "magnificent 19".

Anjem Choudray He has been a great asset for the Muslim community here
Anjem Choudray, Omar Bakri Mohammed's spokesman
Omar Bakri Mohammed Qatada 'to be deported'

A Home Office spokesman said the decision to bar Mr Mohammed would not affect his family. He has seven children who were born in Britain.

They would continue to receive their State benefits, he said, although those paid to the cleric would cease.

Since the 1980s Mr Mohammed had had indefinite leave to remain in the UK after gaining political asylum.

He is thought to have dual Syrian and Lebanese nationality.

Regarding his arrest in Beirut, a Lebanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman said there was an official request from the Syrian authorities "to surrender him to the security forces in Syria."

"They say he is a Syrian and has been convicted in Syria for many crimes, and that they need him for those crimes."

With his often very offensive remarks he has contributed towards the demonisation of British Muslims
Inayat Bunglawala, Muslim Council of Britain
Judges face rights shake-up

The spokesman said he believed the activities for which Syria wished to see Mr Mohammed extradited were not terrorism-related but to do with "past events in Syria in the 1980s".

The cleric's spokesman, Anjem Choudray, described the UK move as "completely outrageous" and a "failure" of the principle of free speech.

"He has been a great asset for the Muslim community here.

"It is going to be a great loss for the British public and the Muslim community, I believe, and I think that this is indicative of the oppressive nature of the Blair regime."

But Inayat Bunglawala, from the Muslim Council of Britain, said: "Omar Bakri is unlikely to be missed by the vast majority of British Muslims.

"He is someone who for 20 years was given shelter by this country and he has spent almost all that time vilifying this country and its values.

"With his often very offensive remarks he has contributed towards the demonisation of British Muslims."

Deportation arrests

His arrest on Thursday came as 10 foreign nationals, who the Home Office says pose a threat to national security, were detained in the UK, pending deportation.

One of them, radical cleric Abu Qatada is expected to be deported to Jordan next week, according to the Jordanian interior minister.

It follows a UK deal with Jordan that deportees would not be persecuted.

In his absence, Abu Qatada has been sentenced by a court in Jordan to life in prison over a series of explosions.

Omar Bakri Mohammed has caused recent controversy by saying he would not report a potential bomber to the police and is currently being investigated by UK authorities.

During the TV interview in Lebanon, Mr Mohammed said that he had Lebanese nationality because his father had Lebanese citizenship.

He said that he had been living in England since 1986 and added that he had been subjected to harassment in Britain.

He also reportedly said that he could never support the killing of innocent people, which he condemned.


Radical Muslim cleric banned from British soil


RADICAL Muslim cleric Omar Bakri Mohammed has been banned from setting foot on British soil again, the Home Office said today.

Home Secretary Charles Clarke used existing powers to exclude Bakri from the UK.

The so-called "Tottenham Ayatollah" left Britain six days ago to see his mother in Beirut.

A Home Office spokesman said: "The Home Secretary has issued an order revoking Omar Bakri Mohammed's indefinite leave to remain and to exclude him on the grounds that his presence is not conducive to the public good."

The decision to bar Bakri indicated a change of position by the Government, which earlier this week said it was powerless to prevent him returning. It had been thought that immigration rules would have to be changed to keep him out.

The process to change the rules was launched by the Home Office last week and sources had indicated it would be complete by the time Bakri was due to return to London in four weeks' time.

It also emerged today that Bakri could be extradited from Lebanon to Syria. A Lebanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman confirmed Bakri was still in custody today despite earlier reports of his release. He also revealed that Syria had lodged an extradition request for Bakri.

Meanwhile, Jordan will ask Britain next week to extradite the cleric Abu Qatada, described as Osama bin Laden's "spiritual ambassador in Europe".

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