Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Interview with the Controversial Omar Bakri | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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London, Asharq Al-Awsat- Omar Bakri, Syrian fundamentalist and the former leader of Al-Muhajiroun, which dissolved itself in October 2005, has told Asharq Al Awsat that he is still in touch with his fundamentalist students in London. Bakri, who lives in Beirut still dreams of establishing an Islamic state in the British capital.

Bakri, who once described the suicide hijackers who carried out the 11 September attacks as “The magnificent 19,” on the first anniversary of the London bombings, said that he stands firm to the fatwas that he has previously issued. These include one fatwa that caused him to be banned from returning to the United Kingdom which stated, “Those who inform [authorities] of the mujahideen are dissidents of Islam.”

Bakri stated that he is sad about being separated from his students in London and pointed out that over a period of twenty years, he had raised generations of fundamentalist students. He added that he would not return to the United Kingdom due to juristic and Shariaa-related reasons. Bakri is considered the founder of the fundamentalist Al-Muhajiroun movement, which disbanded itself in October 2005 and was replaced by the Al-Ghurabaa organization, which is affiliated with Ahl Sunna Wal Jamaah.

Q) Do you still adhere to your previous fatwas, in particular concerning the condemnation of Muslims informing authorities of terrorist activity?

A) Providing the British or US police or any other security services of nonbelievers with information on Muslims, whether they are mujahideen who fight for the sake of God or ordinary Muslims, is forbidden from the Islamic Shariah perspective. It is a major act of disbelief and he who commits this is considered a dissident of Islam, because it falls within the framework of supporting disbelievers over Muslims.

Q) Do you think about going back to the United Kingdom?

A) No. I do not think about that unless Britain renounces its terror laws through which it is terrorizing Muslims under the pretext of fighting terrorism. It is religiously prohibited for people like me to return to the United Kingdom, because this would fall within the framework of offering oneself as captive. Islam prohibits Muslims from allowing themselves to become captives of nonbelievers.

Q) Do you not feel that you have become isolated from the Islamic trend in the United Kingdom?

A) Perhaps I am closer than ever before to the united Islamic trend in the United Kingdom whilst outside the country. However, I am as far as can be from the hypocritical trend, which has sold its religion and nation to please the British authorities in return for a small amount of money and some government posts under the title of the Muslim Council of Britain.

Q) What is your advice to the British Muslim youth and to your students who are far away from you?

A) I advise the British Muslim youth in general and my dear students in particular not to mix with the ignorant British society and not to isolate themselves from people. They must actively preach the word of God; promote virtue and prevent vice; publicly reveal God’s orders; stay away from nonbelievers and their customs, practices, and laws; and adhere to the teachings of the Quran and of Prophet Mohammed by understanding the goodness of our ancestors.

Q) Does the notion of “Londonstan” still exist?

A) I believe that one day honest Muslims in the United Kingdom will, God willing, turn it into “Islamistan,” like what the first Muslims did in Eritrea and Indonesia. The great dream of Islam will come true. Muslims dream to see flags that read: “There is no god but Allah” fluttering in the wind on top of Big Ben and the House of Commons, God willing.

Q) Do you believe that London is safe now that most fundamentalist sheikhs have left the city?

A) I believe that preachers and scholars of Islamic movements in the United Kingdom are the country’s safety valve, in contrary to what foolish people think. However, since endorsing laws to combat terrorism in 2002, the United Kingdom is no longer safe. There is no doubt that the disappearance, imprisonment, and expulsion of most Muslim scholars and preachers will make the United Kingdom an insecure state that is susceptible to those who believe in the need to fight it, because of its participation with the United States in the international crusade against Islam and the Muslims.