This item is available on the Militant Islam Monitor website, at http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/301
Will Al Muhajiroun continue in the guise of the Islamic Council of Britain?
October 13, 2004
MIM: The "shutting down" of Al Muhajiroun has all the hallmarks of a publicity stunt . The organisation has followers in Europe and the United States, who held demonstrations as recently as July. Al Muhajiroun was formed after it's leader Omar Bakri split from Hizb ut Tahrir. Ironically,Hizb ut Tahrir which is a political as opposed to religous yuppie version of Al Muhajiroun appears to be gaining in popularity. A Dutch journalist told MIM that he recently attended a Hizb ut Tahrir demonstration against Pakistani President Musharref (whom they call Bushareff) which attracted several thousand people. Most likely Al Muhajiroun will emerge in a different guise or that some of it's members will join Hizb ut Tahrir and other groups,and possibly try to turn them towards the Al Muhajiroun ideology.
In 2002 ' Omar Bakri Mohammed , Abu Hamza al Masri, and Imran Waheed , leader of of Hizb ut Tahrir in the UK announced the formation of the Islamic Council of Britain which appears to be an umbrella organisation for AM,HT and announced that they will welcome "Al Qaeda sympathisers as members. " (For more on the ICB see below)
It is hardly likely that a group which has openly existed since 1996 in Britain and the United States,which has recruited hundreds if not thousands of British youth to train Al Qaeda camps ,fight in Jihad, and had two suicide bombers emerge from their ranks last year, will suddenly 'dissapear' without a trace. MIM will update the news and attempt to ascertain if Al Muhajiroun has taken on a new form, and what their leader Omar Bakri Mohammed meant when he spoke about AM members going "freelance".
Al Muhajiroun was used by the Muslim Council of Britain as a scapegoat to promote the MCB's facade of moderation. In reality the MCB several of whose members have ties to Al Aqaeda, is the 'mainstream' version of Al Muhajiroun.
For more on Al Muhajiroun and the MCB - "Muslim Con Men of Britain' see:
For background information on AM see article below)
Monitored Islamist group shuts down
Faisal al Yafai
Wednesday October 13, 2004
Al-Muhajiroun has announced it is dissolving and ceasing activities, after the radical group called for an Islamic state in Britain and glorified the September 11 hijackers as "the magnificent 19".
The group, which claims to have 700 UK members, said there was a "new reality" in the post-September 11 world, and Muslim groups had to be united to face "the evil forces" of the west.
Its leader, Sheikh Omar Bakri Muhammed, told the Guardian: "It's an era of crisis. In this time, as Muslims, we are obliged to dismantle any groups and unite until the crisis is solved."
The organisation has had a high profile in the tabloid press and on TV. Its stance, denouncing as unbelievers anyone who denies terrorism is part of Islam, has earned it enemies, although the group has a presence in many cities.
Last week, it shut its website and posted an announcement: "In light of the new reality after the blessed 9/11, the evil forces having united against the Ummah and Islam ... there is nothing left except that the sincere Muslims [unite]."
There have been reports of complaints against the group, but Scotland Yard and the Met's anti-terrorist branch would not comment. The home secretary, David Blunkett, in a written answer to parliament last month, said "every word and statement" its representatives made was monitored.
It is unclear what will happen to those who follow the charismatic Mr Bakri. The leader of the group's Luton branch, using the pseudonym Saif al-Islam, suggested the dissolution would lead to members going "freelance".
Sheikh Ibrahim Mogra, a Leicester imam, said the news brought relief: "At least there's one less troublemaker - in inverted commas - for the peace-loving Muslims in the country ... I won't miss them. A lot of people don't have the time of day for them."
The Muslim Council of Britain also said it would not be missed.
Pro-bin Laden Muslim group "shuts down"
Wed October 13, 2004 05:31 AM ET
By Peter Graff
LONDON (Reuters) - A radical British Muslim group that has noisily backed Osama bin Laden has shut down, calling on all Muslims to unite against a "global crusade".
Al Muhajiroun, led by radical cleric Omar Bakri, said it had disbanded to encourage Muslims to give up political groupings.
"There is no need any more for al Muhajiroun. Basically, the Muslims are uniting together under the banner of all those people who are following the messenger of Islam, Muhammed," Bakri's deputy, Anjem Choudary, told Reuters.
"We find that Muslims need to shed their party banners and unite in order to defend the lives of Muslims against this global crusade," he said.
The organisation, which called for an Islamic state in Britain and praised al Qaeda leader bin Laden, has long been a prominent target of tabloid newspapers.
It received widespread press coverage for calling conferences lauding the hijackers in the September 11 2001 attacks on the United States as "the magnificent 19", although the conferences were cancelled at the last minute.
Bakri has frequently been compared to two other radical clerics, Abu Qatada and Abu Hamza al-Masri, both jailed in anti-terrorism cases. Police have closely monitored him but never charged him with any crime.
It was never clear how big the group's following was, but its high public profile worried mainstream UK Muslim groups, afraid of a backlash against a community of nearly two million Muslims in the country.
"They will not be missed," said Inaya Bunglawala, spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain, the largest group representing Muslims.
"Al Muhajiroun has been the focus of a lot of anger in the Muslim community because it is the ordinary Muslim who has to face the brunt of the backlash because of their antics."
But he added that he did not expect Britain has heard the last from Bakri.
"I'll treat this statement with some caution, based on past experience. I'll be surprised if he quietly walks off into the sunset never to be seen again. I'm sure pretty soon it will become apparent what game they are playing at."
Militant group al-Muhajiroun disbanded
By Philip Johnston Home Affairs Editor
An extremist Muslim group that celebrated the September 11 hijackers as "the magnificent 19" has disbanded, its leaders said last night.
Al-Muhajiroun has angered mainstream Muslim organisations by giving support to terrorist attacks around the world.
It has been denounced as a fringe group that attracted undue attention because of its fanatical views.
Its self-styled spiritual leader, Omar Bakri Muhammed, known as the Tottenham Ayatollah, said the organisation was dissolving but its members would link up with other groups. A statement on the group's website said: "We have decided that it is time to shed ourselves of titles, bodies and infrastructure to merge together as one global sect against the crusaders and occupiers of Muslim land.
"Post 9/11 we are in a time of crisis. We need to come together and pool our resources. Globally, we will support Muslims wherever they are."
The statement added: "We are not going to stop now. The going is going to get tougher."
The group was regularly monitored by the police and Home Office and there are some in the Muslim community who believe the disbandment is a tactical move to avoid being forced to wind up.
|5 September 2004: Cleric supports targeting children|
Muslim terror group splits
Oct 17 2004
By Tom Wells, Sunday Mercury
An extremist Islamic group which claimed Tony Blair was a legitimate assassination target has shut down.
Al-Muhajiroun, which boasts 700 members in the UK, said there was a 'new reality' in the Muslim world which meant its existence was no longer necessary.
The Sunday Mercury exposed the group's leader, Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed, five years ago, when he visited supporters in Birmingham.
In a chilling warning the man branded the 'Tottenham Mullah' told our reporter: "If Tony Blair visits a Muslim state, he will be a legitimate target for assassination and I would not condemn his killers.'
Now, in an unexpected move, Al-Muhajiroun has decided to end its fundamentalist campaigning - but is calling on Muslims to come together to face 'the evil forces of the West.'
Last week, Sheikh Mohammed said: "It's an era of crisis. In this time, as Muslims, we are obliged to dismantle any groups and unite until the crisis is solved."
Al-Muhajiroun has also closed down its website, which controversially denounced Muslims who did not accept terrorism as part of their religion.
The group, which had strong followings in both Birmingham and Derby, frequently caused controversy by glorifying the September 11 hijackers.
It distributed fliers throughout the Midlands depicting them as the 'Magnificent 19', in a mock-up of classic Western film The Magnificent Seven. Three years ago we revealed how Al-Muhajiroun's fixer was former Wolverhampton University student Hassan Butt.
Butt's job was to lure young Muslims from the streets of the Midlands to fight for the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.
"We can help recruits with their air fares to Pakistan and in some cases we will even look after the families they have left behind," he boasted.
"There are many professional people in the Muslim community who have highly-paid jobs.
"These people, like doctors, chemists and engineers, are happy to make large private donations to help the holy war.
"Al-Muhajiroun does not recruit fighters as such. We only give advice to potential fighters through personal contacts, and not as an organisation as a whole.
"Our ultimate goal is a political one which is to create a Khilafah (a worldwide Islamic state)."
He added the group would not rest until its members had "planted the flag of Islam in Downing Street."
Sheikh Ibrahim Mogra, a Leicestershire imam, said: "At least there's one less troublemaker for the peace-loving Muslims in the country. They won't be missed." ..SUPL:
AN OFFICIAL DECLARATION DISSOLVING AL-MUHAJIROUN
For Arabic Version
Bismillah Ar-Rahman Ar-Raheem
After the dismantling of the
The operation of 9/11 upset everything that the
The painful attack of 9/11 encouraged her to revive all her alliances with most countries around the world and to establish new ones with hitherto unknown countries who had no substance, so as to form a global alliance. This included NATO,
In the middle of this joint vicious global crusade and after the lines of the Muslims became distinguished from those of the Kuffar and while the world became divided and identified as two camps, a new legitimate leadership of the victorious sect from amongst those who fight for the sake of Allah (SWT), from Ahl ul-Sunnah Wa al-Jamma' by their own lives and wealth and tongues arose. After Allah (SWT) honoured us to follow the path of the Salaf i.e. that of the Messenger Muhammad (saw) or Nahij As-Salaf (ra), and after Allah (SWT) honoured us to desert Irja and the Murji'ah and to reject Ta'weel and Ashaairah and the rationalism of the Muatazilah and the Maaturidis and to refuse the innovations of the people of desire and Mazhabism. With the ne'ma of having bara' from Kufr Bit-Taghout and with declaring animosity towards them and declaring them kaffir and rising against them. After declaring Tawheed in Allah (SWT) and in his beautiful names and attributes exclusively and in response to the command of Allah (SWT) who calls for unity and standing together: in response to the call of salaf al-saalih and those who follow them – we have decided to dissolve the movement called Al-Muhajiroun, with full Tawakkul in Allah (SWT).
In light of the new reality after the blessed 9/11, the evil forces having united against the Ummah and Islam and fighting us all using the same bow – there is nothing left except that the sincere Muslims who fight with their lives, flesh and wealth unite for the sake of Allah (SWT).
O Muslims Islamic unity is a very dear request, a target, an aim and an objective and one which everyone in the Ummah looks for. After all it is the Wasiyyah of Allah (SWT) in his book and of the Messenger Muhammad (saw) and there are many texts calling Muslims to unity and a harmonious relationship and warning us against disunity and divisions. I believe that the situation the Muslims face has alerted a lot of Islamic activists and Islamic leaders to think deeply and to work seriously to reach a formula that can unite their stance and war and take them out of the circle of disagreement which is not allowed Islamically. They can rationally see the enemy fighting us united, firing from the same bow. They can see them gathering more forces and using international public opinion against us to change the Ummah's culture and identity, under the cover of calling for democracy and looking after the minorities, by using the slogans of human rights and the freeing of women from oppression - whilst we are busy with issues which do not reach the level of the threat that faces the Ummaah. This, if we think positively of our priorities and concerns, whereas, in reality, the concerns of the Muslims today are very cheap.
O Muslims, verily the strategic threat which is posed by the Jihadi movement from the followers of Ahl ul-Sunnah Wa al-Jamma' and those who support them – poses a real threat to USA and it has become clear, after the USA'a values have declined in the hearts of many Muslims and after her idle threats have died in the hearts of Muslims – Muslims have not only stopped doubting that they can stop the crusade of the kuffar if they unite, but they are convinced that they can do so.
However, this requires a brave decision and the moulding together of all the Islamic movements and groups and the propagation of the Jihadi notion of the Ummah, for the sake of uniting the body/lines around the world.
Therefore, I represent myself first, and on behalf of all the members of Al-Muhajiroun I truthfully and sincerely declare for the sake of Allah (SWT)'s pleasure – the dissolving of the entity of Al-Muhajiroun, whether it's administration, culture or departments around the world. We are keen for the safety of the path to the way of the salaf and in support of the Mujahideen and Jihad, and for the sake of keeping the clarity of al wala wal bara free from any defection of partisanship and with a broad width for the true meaning of following the salaf and not to innovate in the time of the khalaf and in order for us to become a real and practical example for others to revive the meaning of names and structures. And Allah (SWT) guides to the straight path.
To purify our burden from any commitment and free the commitment of any members and students who were working with Al-Muhajiroun and in an attempt to motivate people for unity and to leave division and in order to stress to follow the path of the pious predecessors we declare this final declaration. And may Allah (SWT) be the witness that we target nothing but his pleasure.
Therefore all Al-Muhajiroun are removed from all administrative obligations but not any divine obligations they have to Allah (SWT) and which they are obliged to do. From now on if anyone claims to still be Al-Muhajiroun this is entirely up to them.Sheikh Omar Bakri Muhammad
MIM: In 2002 Al Muhajiroun and Hizb ut Tahrir members and leaders attended a conference to for the Islamic Council of Britain. This group could turn out to be the new 'gestalte' of Al Muhajiroun, which may have been disbanded in name, but not in membership. The attendees of the conference included Al Muhajiroun leader Omar Bakri Muhammed ,and tge now jailed Imam of the Finsbury Park (terrorist) mosque Abu Hamza Al Masri who chaired the conference,
London to host Islamic 'celebration' of Sept 11
By Thair Shaikh
Extremist muslim clerics will meet in London on September 11 to celebrate the anniversary of al-Qaeda's attacks on America and to launch an organisation for Islamic militants.
The conference, which will be attended by the most radical mullahs in Britain, will argue that the atrocities were justified because Muslims must defend themselves against armed aggression.
It will launch the Islamic Council of Britain (ICB), which will aim to implement sharia law in Britain and will welcome al-Qa'eda sympathisers as members.
The conference, to be held at Finsbury Park mosque, north London, will be attended by followers of militant groups and chaired by their Muslim leaders, including Omar Bakri Mohammed, whose al-Muhajiroun group wants to establish a worldwide Islamic state.
Mr Mohammed, 44, who was born in Syria and lives in London, has been investigated by Scotland Yard's anti-terrorist squad for anti-semitic statements.
He said: "The people at this conference look at September 11 like a battle, as a great achievement by the mujahideen against the evil superpower.
"I never praised September 11 after it happened but now I can see why they did it."
Mr Mohammed, who is entitled to stay in Britain although his 1980s claim for asylum failed, said that he would not stop al-Qa'eda members from joining the ICB.
He said: "We don't perceive them as the US perceives them; we see them as a sincere devoted people who stood firm against the invasion of a Muslim country."
The clerics claim that the ICB is funded by Saudi-based businessmen, which, if true, will embarrass Saudi Arabia.
The Riyadh government expelled Mr Mohammed in 1986 and recently launched a multi-million-dollar public relations campaign to persuade America that it is rooting out Islamic militants.
Al-Muhajiroun claims to have secured a six-figure sum for funding the ICB and said it would build a dozen Islamic centres, launch a website and hold seminars and classes for Muslims.
Mr Mohammed said: "I believe the Muslim Council of Britain has sold out to the British Government. Many Muslims in Britain feel like this.
"We have been working on getting the funding for six months: it is from a group of Saudi businessmen. Please don't write about this. I am against the killing of innocent people; we are not at war with anybody in this country."
Abu Hamza al-Masri, a cleric at the Finsbury Park mosque, will be co-chairing the conference. Several suspected al-Qa'eda members have been linked to his group, Supporters of Sharia, and the FBI is seeking his extradition for allegedly trying to set up a terrorist training camp in America.
Mr al-Masri, an Egyptian who lost both hands and an eye while fighting in Afghanistan against the Soviet occupation, is also wanted in Yemen on terrorist charges.
Radical Muslims speaking at the conference include Yasser al-Siri, 40, an Egyptian-born dissident who arrived in Britain in 1993 and claimed political asylum.
He was released from custody in July after extradition proceedings by America were dropped because of insufficient evidence. Mr al-Siri has been sentenced to death in Egypt for a bombing that killed a 12-year-old girl.
|16 August 2002: Muslims 'must defend Saddam'|
|14 August 2002: Muslim radicals in Britain issue 'holy war' warning|
|25 July 2002: London imam faces FBI inquiry over al-Qa'eda training camp|
|20 October 2001: 'Mouthpiece of radicals' denies links to bin Laden|
MIM: Note that the Islamic Council of Britain accuses the Muslim Council of Britain of having sold out to the government . For their part, the "Muslim Con Men of Britain" has continued to 'fool' the government by making the obligatory noises condemning Al Muhajiroun as "extremist" while most of their governing body are affiliated with Al Qaeda and regularly host known Hamas leader in the UK, Azzam Tamimi at MCB events. It can also be no accident that Al Muhajiroun chose to name their group the Islamist Council of Britain. In reality there is no difference between the ICB and the MCB except for the fact that the MCB realizes it is not politically expedient to shout "Jihad" in a crowded movie theater .
London to host 9/11 Muslim ‘celebration'
LONDON: Extremist muslim clerics will meet in London on September 11 to celebrate the anniversary of Al Qaeda's attacks on America and to launch an organisation for Islamic militants.
|May 21, 2003
The portal for Britian's suicide terrorists
Michael Whine Communications Director,
The revelation that Asif Hanif, the terrorist who blew himself up in Tel Aviv on 29 April, and his accomplice and would-be bomber, Omar Khan Sharif, were British, should have come as no revelation. Nor should it have come as a surprise that they had links with Al-Muhajiroun (AM – The Emigrants).
What was surprising, and perhaps unforgivable, was that their "religious" and ideological descent into attempted mass murder could not have been adequately monitored by either the British or Israeli security services and law enforcement agencies. Information provided by the police at the initial court hearing at Bow Street Magistrates Court on 9 May clearly indicated that Sharif's family knew what he was up to, if not actually complicit in his terrorism. The family are now remanded to the Central Criminal Court, charged with failing to disclose information that could have prevented a terrorist attack, under section 38 of the amended Terrorism Act 2000. Sharif's sister, Parveen Sharif, also faces the more serious charge of aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring acts of terrorism overseas under section 62 of the Act which carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment on conviction1.
According to the judge at the court hearing on 9 May, the evidence against the three largely relies on information from emails, but it is a reasonable assumption in the circumstances that their foreknowledge and assistance went beyond this.
People who are recruited by AM are taught by the organisation that Israel, the Jews and the West are evil and that it is their Muslim duty to fight them. This is not to state that AM is itself a terrorist organisation. It is not, at least in Britain, but it does serve as an important radicalising agent in the process of turning young British Muslims against Britain and into militant Islamists, and serves as a portal through which some of them have been encouraged to pass on their way to becoming terrorists.
Articles in the British press in recent years have referred to the recruitment of young men by AM whose families fear they will become terrorists. In one instance the relatives of a student from Crawley, Sussex, went to Pakistan to search terrorist training camps for Omar Kyam, who had left his home to travel to Pakistan to train as a terrorist. Mr Kyam's uncle stated "he and boys like him are being given a rifle and told martyrdom is a good thing and sent on a suicide mission to places like Kashmir…The men responsible for sending them don't care what happens to these boys. Many families who have lost sons are afraid to speak out because they worry about reprisals against them"2.
AM was founded in the UK on 16 February 1996 by Omar Bakri Mohammed (Bakri), formerly al Fostock. He was born in 1958 in Aleppo Syria, studied at Cairo's al-Azhar University, then lived in Saudi Arabia until his expulsion in 1986 when he came to Britain. During this time in the Middle East he claims to have been active in various groups including the Muslim Brotherhood and Hizb ut-Tahrir (HUT – the Islamic Liberation Party). Indeed Bakri founded HUT's British branch, with Farid Kasim, a fellow Syrian, and the two rapidly gained a reputation as the most vocal, visible and active Islamist organisers in the UK.
HUT operated mainly on university campuses but also within the Muslim community where its members repeatedly clashed with longer established, and more moderate, bodies.
In 1996 Bakri split from HUT to start AM, and proclaimed himself its spiritual leader. In addition he established himself as a judge of the self-styled British Court of Shariah, which advocates the dominance of Islamic law. Bakri is also the founder of the publishing house al-Khilafah Publications.
AM essentially follows the ideology of HUT, which was founded by Sheikh Taqiuddin an-Nabahani, an Islamic court judge in the former east Jerusalem in 1953. Nabahani remained leader until he died in 1977 and was then succeeded by Abdul-Qadeem Zallum, who was ousted in 1997 by Mohamed Nafi Abdul-Karim Salih. He in turn was succeeded by Bakr Salem-Khawaldah.
HUT is an international Islamist movement dedicated to the creation of a united Khilafah (Islamic state) throughout what it deems to be Muslim lands. In the Khilafah the Ummah (Muslim community) is led by a Caliph (appointed leader) who rules the state by the rules of Islam (Shariah). The size of the state is limitless and negates the need for national boundaries; anyone can live in such a state, as long as they abide by Islamic law. Where it is deemed necessary the Khilafah will be established by Jihad (holy war), which HUT sees as a physical war to be fought against the Kufr (non-believers)3.
HUT is opposed to all existing Arab and Muslim regimes and it is banned in most Middle Eastern countries, where it has a history of involvement in dissident activity.
In 1968 HUT attempted a coup d'etat in Jordan and Syria, both of which failed, as did an attempted putsch in Egypt in 1974, said to have been carried out by a disgruntled Palestinian terrorist who had joined HUT. Another sympathiser is thought to have been a member of the group who assassinated President Sadat of Egypt in 1981. Attempted coups have also been made in Iraq and Tunisia, where in 1988 over forty members were tried in secret by a military court. In 1994 ten members of HUT were convicted of plotting to assassinate King Hussein of Jordan, and though ten were sentenced to death, eight of these sentences were subsequently overturned due to lack of evidence by the Appeal Court. The other two accused were tried in absentia4.
HUT has also established itself in central asia, where it has declared a Jihad, and where it seeks to reunite the central asian republics. It is currently particularly prominent as an opposition party in Uzbekistan. According to Uzbek officials HUT was introduced into the country in 1995 by a Jordanian named Sala Huddin. As the movement began setting up its first cells in Tashkent and the Fergana Valley, and spread throughout Uzbekistan and onto Tajikistan and Kyrgystan, government crackdowns began. HUT has claimed more than 60,000 supporters in Tashkent and tens of thousands in other cities. This claim may be supported by the number of arrests of HUT members in all three countries between 1999 and 2001.
It has also been alleged that HUT were responsible for the assassination of Muhammed Amin Yakan, a leading Muslim cleric, in Aleppo Syria in December 1999. Yakan had been mediating between the regime and the Muslim Brotherhood which at that time was banned in Syria.
Members of HUT, including three British members, were recently put on trial in Egypt and charged with seeking the overthrow of the Egyptian government. In a press interview Bakri claimed to have recruited them to HUT5.
HUT is rigidly opposed to the existence of the state of Israel, and draws no distinction between Israel and Jews in its rhetoric. It is also opposed to the Middle East process, and has demonstrated against the Arab participants that have been involved in the process, as well as against Israel. In addition to this, HUT is anti-Hindu, anti-Sikh, homophobic, anti-feminist, anti-democratic and anti-western.
Following the split between the two organisations AM quickly assumed HUT's active role in recruiting in universities in colleges and through mosques, and in talking to the media, thereby becoming Britain's best-known extremist Islamist group. After the split HUT returned to a more covert style of operation, although it continues to send out communiqu?s to the press. However HUT and AM retain a near-identical ideology and some activists appear to belong to both groups. The membership of both organisations is not known but is likely to be only in the hundreds, although they have been able to attract thousands of supporters to their public activities.
From their head office in the Lee Valley Techno Park in north London, AM claim to provide physical support, including finance and recruitment to overseas Islamist groups, including Hamas, Egyptian Islamic Jihad and Hizbollah. Bakri has also boasted of having communicated with Osama bin Laden. However none of these groups have ever substantiated AM's claims, and it is perhaps doubtful that much of the money raised actually reaches its intended declared destination. Nevertheless AM did have an office and a representative, Hassan Butt, in Lahore, Pakistan, and do encourage British volunteers to train and fight abroad6. This has led to the death of at least three British AM activists in an American bombing raid on Afghanistan7. In December 2001 AM claimed that eighteen of their British activists were in Lahore claiming political asylum having fought on behalf of the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Since the implementation of Britain's Terrorism Act 2000, and its subsequent amendment in 2001, AM have been more cautious in speaking about raising funds in Britain for overseas terrorist activity. Their public stance since September 11 2001 focuses more on establishing the Khilafah. However their public distaste for Jews, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism, and homosexuality, and their continued criticism of western civilisation and comment on the Israel Palestine situation has led several leading members into trouble with the police (see below).
Most other Islamist groups criticise AM's ideology as being overly simplistic. There is, however, some ideological convergence with other radical groups, particularly those associated with the Muslim Brotherhood and the Pakistani Jamaat Islami, especially regarding the mutual responsibility that Muslims bear for one another throughout the world, the utopian vision of the Khilafah and the justification of political violence to achieve their aims.
AM claim that the Khilafah was originally established by the prophet Mohammed, and that its ‘re-establishment' is a religious and political priority for all Muslims. They also believe that it is every Muslim's duty to support those waging Jihad in any other country, for instance Chechnya, Afghanistan, Kashmir or Palestine, and regularly call for Jihad in support of Muslims overseas. In this context AM defines Jihad as materially supporting or physically waging war on behalf of Islam. Their leaflets frequently quote a select few verses from religious text to justify their militant rhetoric:
‘The Jews and Christians will never be satisfied with you until they take you away from your way of life.'8
‘The hour will not come until Muslims fight the Jews and kill them.'9
Ultimately AM seek to convert the world to Islam so that the Khilafah state will dominate the world.
Bakri is the self-proclaimed religious and spiritual leader of AM. Described half-humorously as ‘The Tottenham Ayatollah', he is a publicity seeker whose frequent media interviews have been noteworthy for his outrageous claims10. In 1991 he threatened the life of Prime Minister John Major, and was held by the police for twenty-four hours, but subsequently released without being charged11. In December 1999 he issued a fatwa against the Russian leader Boris Yeltsin and called for British Muslims to attack the Russian Embassy. On 18 September 2001, outside the Pakistan Embassy in London, Bakri issued a fatwa which contained a death threat against General Musharraf of Pakistan12.
Anjem Choudary is the chairman of The Society of Muslim Lawyers, an AM front. He appears to be the main public spokesman for AM, and is sometimes now described as the head of the British branch, and its main operational leader. In 1998 he was arrested and charged, although not prosecuted, with burning an Israeli flag at an AM rally in Hyde Park London, but he was convicted for other offences early in 2003 (see below).
Abdul Rahman Saleem, also known as Abu Yahya, is a leading member of AM. In a press interview he stated that he had undergone military training in Afghanistan and Pakistan and would go to fight on the front line for other Muslims13. In a second interview he admitted to be recruiting a number of Britains to be trained abroad as he felt to be the duty of every Muslim to defend Islam14. A third interview he gave quoted him as saying "My support for my brothers in the Taliban or any oppressed Muslim group will be verbal, financial and physical"15. He was also arrested and charged, although not prosecuted, for burning an Israeli flag at an AM event in 1998, (see below).
Iftikhar Ali has been a senior member of AM since at least 1999 and has been the organiser of their physical training courses in east London. In May 2002 he was convicted of incitement to racial hatred for distributing AM leaflets bearing the hadith "the final hour will not come until Muslims fight the Jews and kill them". Reportedly he told the police officers who arrested him that "What is written on the paper is true. The Jewish people must die."16
Other AM activists were also arrested at the same time around the country for distributing the same leaflets but the criminal charges against them were dropped.
The late Sulayman Zain-ul-Abidin, also known as Frank Etim/Etab, was also active in AM. He was the organiser of Sakina Security Services, which advertised jihad training for Islamists on its Internet site and via handouts. The training included an overseas course called "the ultimate jihad challenge" held in the United States so that it could include weapons training with live ammunition. During 2002 he was put on trial at the Central Criminal Court in London charged with terrorism offences but subsequently acquitted, and shown to be something of a fantasist. The US authorities, however, continue to investigate the American organisers of the training camps.
Sulayman Keeler is a member of the National Daw'ah Committee of AM and chairman of The Society of Converts to Islam, yet another AM front. In 1999 he was imprisoned for 28 days for assaulting a police officer at a demonstration outside 10 Downing Street, the official residence of the British Prime Minister, following a British attack on Iraqi missile installations.17 Shortly thereafter Amer Mirza, yet another AM leader, was sentenced to six months imprisonment for petrol bombing a territorial army base in west London, again as a protest against the British military action against Iraq.18
AM maintains close connections, often at a personal level, with other British-based Islamist organisations.
The Supporters of Shariah (SOS) was founded by the Egyptian Abu Hamza al-Masri (formerly Mustafa Kemal). Until the Charity Commission demanded his exclusion from the North London Central Mosque in Finsbury Park, Abu Hamza used the mosque as his UK base. From 1996 AM and SOS held joint meetings there, as well as demonstrations on the streets of London. Police raids on the mosque in January 2003 proved that the mosque was being used as a storage facility for materiel used to support a growing terrorist infrastructure.
It was also at the mosque that al-Qaeda recruiters, probably Djamel Beghal, found Zacarias Moussaoui, the so-called ‘twentieth hijacker', and Richard Reid, the ‘shoebomber'.
Hamza was previously an advisor to the Algerian Armed Islamic Group (GIA) and had issued a number of fatwahs on their behalf justifying the killing of civilians.
Abu Qatada (also known as Sheikh Omar Abu Omar), currently held by the British authorities, is a Palestinian who has been convicted twice in absentia by Jordan on terrorist charges. He came to Britain in 1993 and was later granted asylum. Qatada is linked to the Jordanian group Jaysh Mohammad (Army of Mohammad) who are accused of planned the bombing of American targets at the end of the millennium. He has frequently been described as Bin Laden's "ambassador to Europe". Qatada has attended and spoken at AM events with both Bakri and Hamza. In particular he was the guest speaker at an AM meeting in November 1999 held to raise funds for the Mujahideen in Chechnya.
Bakri has also maintained a close relationship with Yasser al-Sirri, an Egyptian exile condemned to death in Egypt for his part in the attempted assassination of the former Prime Minister Dr Atef Sidqi. Al-Sirri has been described as the leader of the Tala'l Fatah (Vanguards of Conquest). Bakri and Sirri have shared platforms on numerous occasions at public events in London and have openly supported each others causes. Al-Sirri has also been a speaker at several AM demonstrations and meetings.
Dr Mohammed al-Mas'ari, the Saudi Arabian co-founder in the UK of the Committee for Defence of Legitimate Rights, is known to have been a member of HUT in Saudi Arabia, along with Bakri. Al-Mas'ari left Saudi Arabia in 1994 after six months imprisonment and has since been living in Britain. It was al-Mas'ari who translated and distributed Osama bin Laden's first declaration of war against the United States in 1996. Mas'ari is a central figure in AM activities and indeed has been a lecturer at Bakri's School of Shariah.
Zahid ur-Rashdi is a former Pakistani Member of Parliament and head of the Shariah Council of Pakistan. It is believed that he and other Pakistani Islamists maintained contact with the late Mullah Mohammed Omar, the Taliban leader. Ur-Rashdi has been a guest speaker at a number of AM's important events in London including the Trafalgar Square rally on 3 August 1997 entitled ‘Islam Against Oppression'. Again in July 1999 he spoke at an AM rally in Trafalgar Square entitled ‘Islam III'. Ur-Rashdi is believed to be the head of the Pakistani end of a jihad recruitment and fundraising network called The Global Jihad Fund.
As has been indicated, AM operates in Britain under a variety of names, using organisations and companies as fronts. These organisations are fronted by senior members of the organisation, and the different names enable AM to recruit new members or sympathisers from varying backgrounds and ages, as well as raising money through donations.
In a press interview Bakri stated that there "are registered companies that do not exist as companies…Info 2000 Software is one of eleven companies we have used to help us with our work.19 This bogus company was investigated by the authorities and shut down subsequently.
The Muslim Cultural Society of Enfield and Haringey was a registered charity established and run by AM in May 1994. Subsequently it too was investigated, and closed in November 1999 by the British authorities20.
Anti-Israel and Anti-Jewish Activities
Anti-Israel demonstrations and meetings, and the promotion of antisemitism and Holocaust denial have been central to AM's activities from the very start. Leaflets, Internet postings and meetings focussing on this core issue for AM ideology began in earnest after the Israel bombardment of Qana in Lebanon in April 1996.
One leaflet published shortly thereafter was headed ‘Muslim vs Jew: War'. Having stated that ‘Never has one single Arab leader engaged with Israel in war' it went on to state ‘and what of so-called Jewish invincibility that the rulers of Muslim lands claim? What does Allah have to say about this? Allah through his messenger Mohammed (SAW) said: "The final (sic) shall not occur until the Muslims fight the Jews and the Muslims kill them, so much so that the Jews will seek shelter behind stones and trees, and the stones and trees proclaim, ‘oh Muslim', ‘oh servant of Allah!' There is a Jew behind me, so come and kill him….further in the Quran Allah says of the Jews: and thou will find them greediest of mankind for life…and concerning their cowardice: they will not fight against you in body save in fortified villages and behind wall'21.
Shortly thereafter AM produced a series of leaflets on the theme of Jihad for Palestine and embarked upon a series of widely advertised demonstrations outside the Israel Embassy in London22. Thereafter the group began a series of central London demonstrations to protest against Israel and Zionism. One entitled ‘The Rally Against Oppression' held in August in Trafalgar Square, central London, had on its advertising leaflets the slogan ‘Israel, the cancerous Zionist entity most oppressive terrorist state on earth' stated that ‘ the establishment of Israel is not only a criminal act of genocide against the Palestinian people. It is also an act of war against Islam and Muslims all over the world…the oppression of this cancerous growth can be counted by surgical, chemical or radiation treatment23.
Another demonstration held outside the residence of the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street called for the support of the ‘Jihad against the pirate racist Zionist Jewish apartheid terrorist murdering oppressive illegitimate blasphemous state of Israel…occupier of Muslim land'24. Yet another called for a ‘demonstration against 50 years of apartied (sic), occupation murdering and racism…the pirate state of Israel'. This was held outside the Jewish community's Israel Independence Day celebrations at Wembley Conference Centre, north London25.
The banners and speeches at these demonstrations were even more extreme. Banners outside the Israel Embassy at an AM demonstration in October 2000 stated ‘Jewish occupiers kill them where you see them'. At the same demonstration the organised chanting included the calls: "dirty Jews, burn in hell, jihad jihad jihad, bomb bomb Tel Aviv, bomb bomb Israel, scud scud Israel, burn burn Israel".
One chant heard frequently on AM demonstrations is the Arabic: ‘kyber kyber ya yahood jaysh Mohammed saof yaood' (kyber kyber oh Jews! The Army of Mohammed will return). At a June 1998 Rally for Islam in Trafalgar Square Avais Khan, one of the speakers, stated: ‘the Jewish Holocaust was a fabrication and everybody knows that. But the way they kill the Muslims in Palestine, that is the true Holocaust, theirs is a fabrication…b'Allah, they dirty cursed people, yahood, they make Hitler look like a saint…how wicked, how evil these Jews are, b'Allah, they don't even deserve the death of a dog'.
At an AM demonstration outside another Israeli Independence Day celebration, this time in May 2000, one speaker addressed the Jewish community thus: ‘your state is a blasphemy according to Jewish law so that makes you not only cowards, garbage, scum, thieves, I could go on, it also makes you blasphemers as well, according to your own religion. Then again what do we expect from the garbage of humanity, the most gangrenous part of humanity that has always killed its own prophets, betrayed its own people, it's no surprise to any of us that you constantly lie and cheat in your religion, that is why in our religion you are described as pigs, swines and apes'26.
The anti-Jewish and anti-Israel rhetoric has continued virtually without slowing down, but from 2000 onwards the rhetoric took on a harder tone: leaflets began to appeal for Jihad recruitment and the murder of Israelis.
One leaflet advertising an Islamic conference in east London called for Israelis to be killed wherever they are27. Another, advertising a rally to be held in Trafalgar Square in October 2000 stated that the rally would be recruiting Muslims to destroy Israel28.
AM responded to Britain's first Holocaust Memorial Day in 2001 by holding a series of lectures designed to: ‘trace back the lie of the Holocaust' and show how it has been used to justify the on-going Holocaust and genocide against the innocent Muslims in Palestine.
Bakri has frequently been quoted as saying that he does not believe in the Holocaust. Indeed it would be no exaggeration to say that AM has become perhaps the most active promoter of Holocaust denial in Britain. During November 2000 its members put up posters throughout London advertising a meeting which referred to the Holocaust as ‘a perverted lie'. The meeting was cancelled by the owners of the hall where it was due to take place, but in a press interview at the time Bakri told the Jewish Chronicle: ‘ to say six million died in the Holocaust is fallacy used to justify Zionism. We believe that the nazis killed about 60,000 Jews during the war. The story of the Holocaust is full of myths and lies29.
Holocaust denial has been repeated in numerous Internet postings on Bakri's websites. One recent example was: ‘how could Hitler kill 6,800,000 Jews when there were only 3,500,000 Jews living in Europe? This talk will trace back the lie of the Holocaust and show how it has been used to justify the on-going Holocaust and genocide against the innocent Muslims in Palestine and to legitimise the existence of the Terrorist State of Israel'30.
As a consequence of promoting these insidious and hateful views AM are banned by the National Union of Students from holding events at all student unions in the UK, as are HUT. Indeed it was their campus-based activity that led the universities' umbrella body, the Committee of Vice Chancellors (now renamed Universities UK) to investigate HUT and subsequently publish a guidance booklet for university heads on religious extremism31.
However, following their established practice they have set themselves up under different organisational names, such as the Islamic Media Forum, Pakistan Society or Muslim Cultural Society, and thereby frequently evade the bans.
As a consequence of their anti-Israel and anti-Jewish incitement several members and supporters of AM have been arrested or convicted on criminal charges, in addition to those mentioned above:
In May 2003 Anjem Choudary was convicted of organising a banned AM rally in Trafalgar Square, and fined. He subsequently told a London newspaper that ‘Muslims are obligated to court Islam openly where they live, with or without permission'.32
In October 2000, Malik Saleem, Mohammad Farooq and Sajaad Hanif were arrested in Birmingham for putting up posters which bore the slogan ‘the hour will not come until the Muslims kill the Jews'. The posters were to advertise an AM meeting, and one was posted on the wall of a synagogue.
In September 2000 Nazrul Islam, Tunveer Ahmed, Abdul Rahman Saleem, Muhammad Akhtar, Muhammad Shams Uddeen, Kawsor Miah and Abdullah Uddin were all arrested at an AM demonstration outside the Israeli embassy in London, although not subsequently charged.
In January 1998 Osman Ali, Anjem Choudary and Abdul Rahim Salim were arrested for burning an Israeli flag at a public event in Central London. However, they too were not convicted.
Thus the news that Hanif and Sharif passed through AM on their way to becoming terrorists should not come as a surprise.
AM activist Hassan Butt, who returned to Britain during 2002 from Lahore, stated in an interview with al-Sharq al-Awsat, that he estimated the number of suicide bombers waiting to carry out operations were more than fifty. He added that most of them are currently in Britain, although not necessarily active members of AM. He did state, however, that most of them had received religious lessons in Britain and that they had been taught that jihad was a priority.33
It this is the case then both Britain and Israel can expect more suicide bombings, unless the security services and law enforcement agencies make a determined attempt to discover their identities.
This item is available on the Militant Islam Monitor website, at http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/301