Moderate British Muslims in the police, Armed Forces and Civil Service will one day revolt against the system to “crush it from within”, according to Omar Bakri Mohammed, the notorious Islamic extremist.
In claims condemned as a cynical attempt to create division, the co-founder of the extremist al-Muhajiroun group said that Britain was “digging a deep hole” for itself by allowing Muslims into the Services and Whitehall.
Speaking exclusively to The Sunday Telegraph in Lebanon, where he moved in August 2005 — at about the time it emerged the British authorities might charge him with incitement to treason — he claimed police officers, soldiers and civil servants would one day become radicalised.
“When you start to ask Muslims to join your Army and your police you are making a grave mistake. That British Muslim who joins the police today will one day read the Koran and will have an awakening,” he said.
“Those moderates are one day going to be practising Muslims. Now what happens if they are British police or in the Army and they have weapons? How much information do they have about you that they will use to serve the global struggle?
“They will revolt against the system if they have been failed by your foreign policy which is oppressive against Islam, or have been contacted by people who believe Britain is a domain of war.”
In remarks almost certain to cause widespread anger among the survivors and relatives of victims, he also claimed that the world was a better place after the July 7 bombings in London. “I believe it is a better place for Islam and Muslims… but not for non-Muslims. What’s happening around the world is good and positive for Islam.”
The comments were condemned by moderate Muslim leaders. Ibrahim Mogra, the chairman of the Interfaith Relations Committee of the Muslim Council of Britain, said: “This is part of an attempt to create divisions both within the Muslim community and the wider society.
“On the contrary, the more a Muslim police officer becomes a practising Muslim, the more loyal he will become, the more he will realise his duty to his country and the need to contribute to its well-being.”
He added: “People are entitled to their views, but we actually have our own scholars and imams, who are still in this country, not abroad, and who talk about contributing to Britain and the responsibilities that we have to it.”
Bakri Mohammed came to Britain in 1985 after being expelled from Saudi Arabia. He was rapidly derided as “the Tottenham Ayatollah”. His inflammatory pronouncements have included calling the September 11 terrorists the “Magnificent 19”.
He disbanded al-Muhajiroun in 2004. Shortly after the July 7 attacks Tony Blair announced the group would be banned as part of a series of measures against condoning or glorifying terrorism.
In Beirut last week, a relaxed Bakri Mohammed sipped freshly-squeezed strawberry juice in an upmarket restaurant overlooking the Mediterranean.
He took pleasure in hearing media reports about Abid Javaid, 41, of Thornton Heath, Surrey, a civil servant in the Immigration and Nationality Directorate, who was exposed late last year as a leading member of the extremist organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT), which Mr Blair had wanted to ban.
This was despite Bakri Mohammed’s admission: “I left HT in 1996 and they condemn what I stand for.”
Bakri Mohammed readily confirmed that he had officiated at the wedding of Pc Alexander Omar Basha, his relative by marriage.
In October, however, when the diplomatic protection officer faced controversy after being excused guard duties at the Israeli embassy, Bakri Mohammed admitted Pc Basha’s views were far more moderate than his own and even complained: “If I’d have known [he was a policeman at the time of the wedding] I would never have married them. My advice to all Muslims in the police is to leave their jobs.”
Jan. 21, 2007
Mike Hirst and Adam Lusher