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Lebanon Deports four British Fundamentalists Visiting Extremist Omar Bakri - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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London, Asharq Al-Awsat- Lebanese authorities deported four leaders of the outlawed Al-Ghuraba” fundamentalist movement who had traveled to Beirut to meet Omar Bakri, the former leader of &#34Al-Muhajiroun&#34 and &#34Al-Ghuraba” groups.

Lawyer Anjem Chawdry (Abu-Luqman), &#34Al-Muhajiroun”s&#34 former secretary general that dissolved itself in October 2004, said his stay was legitimate as was the visit by three other fundamentalists who went to Lebanon on a tourist trip and to meet Bakri and enquire about his condition. The three are Abu Izzaldin, Abu Ibrahim, and Abu Yahya. The four fundamentalists are considered important leaders in &#34Al-Ghuraba&#34 organization that Britain banned after the July bombings in London.

Choudary expressed his belief that his deportation, after 10 weeks during which he moved between Beirut, Tripoli, Sidon, Bayt al-Din, and Al-Naqurah, was the result of coordination between the British Embassy in Beirut and the Lebanese public security services. He said, &#34A major in the Public Security Forces summoned me and asked to see our passports, which they later replaced with papers from the Public Security Directorate for moving about until the relevant authorities were consulted, as he said in his report. But the Lebanese officials contacted Omar Bakri the next day and told him we had to leave the Lebanese capital without giving the reasons and said they would give us back our passports at Beirut Airport on the morning of 3 November.&#34

After pointing out that he entered Beirut on 26 August, he said, &#34The main problem is that the Public Security Directorate did not give the real reasons for our deportation.&#34

On his part, Syrian fundamentalist Omar Bakri Fustuq said when &#34Asharq al-Awsat&#34 telephoned him that he had decided to drop his plan for an Arabic language college and freeze the internet coffee shop project after having made considerable steps in establishing them, adding that he took the decision on the security advice not to go ahead with them for fear that the British authorities would think that the coffee shop would be used as a cover for contacting his followers abroad. He said: &#34I decided not to go ahead with the modest college plan after bearing the costs of setting it up, like paying the rent for six months in advance, the furniture, and the teaching equipment because of the many security services that summoned me from time to time and after every press report or activity by some brothers in Britain or a visit by one of the British Muslims.&#34

Bakri went on to say that, he also decided, &#34to freeze the plan to buy and furnish an apartment in Lebanon. I will not bring my family to Lebanon until the security clouds over me clear away.&#34 He pointed out that the Security Directorate officers knew of his intention to open a college to teach the Arabic language to non-Arabic speakers after informing them of this at one of the summons, &#34but they did not express any reservations about opening it.&#34 He noted that he incurred some expenses in this plan.

He also disclosed that a number of British Muslims in London have started a campaign to collect contribution under the name of &#34Sheikh Omar Bakri”s supporters&#34 to cover his living costs in Lebanon. His students asked him to devote himself to writing and propagating and not to working in any job while they would send him a monthly aid in return.

Bakri, who at one time called the 11 September attackers the &#34magnificent 19&#34, and the London Bombers the &#34Fantastic Four&#34 called in a previous interview with &#34Asharq al-Awsat&#34 on the Islamists living in Britain to leave it because they would be unable to preach the word of God. He said some of his students who were new converts to Islam and are mixture from England, Ireland, the Indian subcontinent, and European countries, would come to Beirut to study the Arabic language at the &#34Al-Tawhid in Bilad al-Sham&#34 college that he intended to establish.

47-year-old Bakri is the father of seven children and lived in Edmonton suburb north of London for 20 years and was granted political asylum in 1986. He was banned from returning to Britain by British authorities last summer as a part of its crack down on extremist preachers.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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