British Muslim Omar Brooks was filmed at the council-owned Small Heath Youth and Community Centre praising the bravery of a London bomber’s suicide compared to non Muslims – who he characterised with vomiting and urinating in the street.
Brooks, who also goes by the name of Abu Izzadeen, is known as the heir to radical preacher Omar Bakri Mohammed, and has previously described the London bombers as ‘completely praiseworthy’.
Last night Khalid Mah-mood, MP for Perry Barr, branded the council’s part in the episode “absolutely disgraceful”. He said lending out the rooms to figures like Brooks facilitated the potential “brain-washing” of moderate local Muslim youth.
The rally was organised by a little-known umbrella group called the Islamic Research Forum, which includes members of Al-Ghurabaa and the Saviour Sect, both formed from the break up of Al- Muhajiroun.
The meeting was held at Small Heath community centre on Sunday July 2, with the video of his speech being posted on the website of Al-Ghurabaa – an extremist group Brooks is linked to, which this week condemned dead Birmingham Muslim soldier Lance Corporal Jabron Hashmi as “a traitor to Islam and professional terrorist”.
Entitled How Can We Prevent Another 7/7? his speech at Small Heath drew appreciative laughs from his audience.
At one point 31-year-old Brooks announced dramatically that the September 11 attacks on the World Trade
Centre “changed many lives”. After a pause he delivered his punchline: “Especially those inside.”
Mr Mahmood said the council had a serious duty to prevent groups which preached racial or religious hatred from disseminating their message on its properties. He said ordinary Muslims would be appalled at extremists like Brooks being given the opportunity to “brainwash” their youth.
“Groups like this are divisive to Muslim young people,” he said. “These are people who follow Omar Bakri and they are idiots who should be banned.
“These people are there to brainwash young kids. There would be a petition against the BNP holding a meeting on Local Authority premises. But it is not just the BNP which preaches hatred. The council needs to be vigilant about who is making bookings.”
A spokesman for the Islamic Research Forum defended the conference, saying it was about addressing “legitimate grievances” which had led to the July 7 bombings. “The point of the conference was to prevent another 7/7,” he said. “We don’t want to see things continue. Tony Blair is arrogant in his way of dealing with Muslims, Iraq, Afghanistan and the concerns of all Muslims. If Tony Blair is not serious about those grievances, Britain is never going to be safe and we are going to pay the price.”
The community centre where the conference was staged is advertised on a Birmingham City Council website as being available for adult education, birthday parties, elderly groups and public meetings.
A spokeswoman for Birmingham City Council said it was concerned to hear about allegations and it would investigate. “The city council would certainly not want to lend its community centres to any group that would seek to incite racial hatred within the community. We will be looking into the circumstance around this specific booking.”
Sidebar: Early Life of Latest Preacher of Hate
Omar Brooks, who hit the headlines earlier this year when he was labelled ‘Britain’s new number one hate preacher’, started life in a radically different guise.
Mr Brooks – or Abu Izzadeen, as he is now more commonly known – was born into a Christian family of Jamaican origin in Hackney, East London, and was known as Trevor to some acquaintances.
He converted to Islam at the age of 17 and is believed to have become involved with Omar Bakri Mohammed at Finsbury Park Mosque in the late 1990s.
He trained and worked as an electrician and his new name – Abu Izzadeen – means ‘Might of the Faith’ in Arabic.
He is thought to have become the new Emir of the Saved or Saviour Sect, regularly posting his sermons onto the group’s website.
The Saviour Sect wants Britain to adopt Islamic law and has links with al-Ghurabaa, whose leader was arrested during extremist protests against the publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed. Abu Izzadeen has also been touted as the leader of al- Ghurabaa.
Over the past couple of years he has made a series of inflammatory statements which have been widely reported.
During lectures in March, entitled The Christian Crusades parts one and two, he was reported as saying that a war was being fought to make Islamic law “completely dominant” in Britain, and that “all Jews and Christians are going to hell fire”.
On the BBC’s News-night last year he said that the July 7 bombings would make people “wake up and smell the coffee”.
He said of the London bombings: “I would never denounce the bombings, even if my own family was to suffer, because we always stand with the Muslims, regardless of the consequences.”
The CPS was considering charges against Izzadeen for solicitation to murder and withholding information about terrorism. He is married with three children and lives on benefits in Leyton, London.