Officials from the Crown Prosecution Service will hold talks with Scotland Yard this week on whether to bring charges of incitement to treason against three Islamic clerics. Ken Macdonald, QC, the Director of Public Prosecutions, is studying remarks in the media and sermons by the clerics to see if a prosecution should be mounted.
He has held discussions with Lord Goldsmith, QC, the Attorney-General, and within the next few days the head of the CPS’s anti-terrorism branch will meet officers from Scotland Yard to discuss possible charges.
The prosecuting authorities are focusing on whether action can be brought against Omar Bakri Mohammed, Abu Izzadeen and Abu Uzair.
The prosecutors are likely to seek access to tapes made by an undercover Sunday Times reporter who reportedly recorded members of the radical Saviour Sect praising the bombers who killed themselves and 52 people on July 7 as “the fantastic four”.
The difficulty facing the authorities is that spokesmen for radical Islamist groups are generally careful during media interviews to avoid saying anything that might suggest that they approve of violent attacks in Britain. It is remarks made last week that are being studied by the authorities.
Omar Bakri Mohammed sparked outrage when he said on television that he would not inform police if he knew that Muslims were planning a bomb attack on a train in Britain and that he supported Muslims who attacked British troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.
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Detectives are known to be concerned that the CPS has not acted on a file about Mr Mohammed it sent them more than six months ago. Mr Mohammed, 47, has been reported to the prosecution authorities a number of times in recent years but has never been charged under incitement legislation.
In January The Times discovered an internet chatroom being used by the Syrian-born cleric to preach sermons directly to his followers in their homes. In one talk he told listeners that Britain was “a land of war” and that the so-called covenant of security that prevented Muslims attacking Britain was at an end. He said that Muslims had an obligation to fight jihad and to join al-Qaeda.
In 2003 his al-Muhajiroun organisation organised a conference entitled “The Magnificent 19” in praise of the suicide hijackers who committed the 9/11 atrocities. The disbandment of al-Muhajiroun was announced last year but Mr Mohammed’s followers continued to organise, calling themselves the Saviour Sect or al-Ghurabaa (the Strangers).
Abu Izzadeen, a spokesman for al-Ghurabaa, has refused to condemn the July 7 bombs and said on the BBC Two programme Newsnight that it was “Mujahidin activity” that would make people “wake up and smell the coffee”.
Abu Uzair, a former member of al-Muhajiroun now understood to be part of the Saviour Sect, told the same programme that the September atrocities in the US were magnificent.
He said that, for the July 7 bombers, “the banner has been risen for jihad inside the UK”.