British-Born Preachers Who Praised the London Bombers Cannot Be Jailed Say Police
Abu Uzair, of the extremist Saviour Sect, said Britons were now targets because ‘the banner has been risen for jihad inside the UK’.
And Abu Izzadeen, of the radical Al-Ghurabaa group, labelled the bombers ‘martyrs’, not murderers. He said he hoped the attacks would make people ‘wake up and smell the coffee’.
The sickening comments provoked an immediate outcry and further fury when it emerged the British-born preachers will escape prosecution.
Police admitted they were powerless to act. Legal experts said the remarks made on the BBC2 programme Newsnight exposed the inadequacies of Britain’s terror laws. Had the two men said such things in many European countries, including France and Germany, they would have been jailed.
Home Secretary Charles Clarke plans laws later this year which would make their comments an offence. But as the law stands, the pair cannot even be deported, as both are British citizens.
Leading Muslims immediately called for their organisations to be banned to prevent them ‘coaching’ young Britons to become terrorists.
Abu Izzadeen and Abu Uzair, who recently described the September 11 attacks as ‘ magnificent’, are happy to take advantage of British citizenship, but boast they owe no allegiance to Queen or country, only to Islam.
Critics of Government policy say the fact that they cannot be punished shows clearly how Britain has become a soft touch for dangerous militants, and why the capital has been branded ‘Londonistan’.
In his interview Abu Uzair said the ‘covenant of security’ which stopped British Muslims from attacking the UK because they were given safety here no longer existed.
‘We don’t live in peace with you any more,’ he said. ‘The banner has been risen for jihad inside the UK, which means it’s allowed for the bombers to attack.’ Asked if British citizens were targets, he said: ‘Yes, that’s right’, adding that he believed there were more cells in the UK. He refused to accept they were terrorist cells, preferring to call them ‘Muslim cells’.
Asked whether he would tell police if he had information about another attack, he said: ‘I would never go to the police because I believe that spying on Muslims is never allowed. I am a British citizen but I am a Muslim first, a Muslim second and a Muslim last. Even if I am British I don’t follow the values of the UK, I follow the values of Islam.’ It was the Saviour Sect which attacked Respect Party MP George Galloway during the spring election campaign. He was jostled by a 30-strong mob and told he had been sentenced to death.
The Sect and Al Ghurabaa, which means The Strangers, want to overthrow the government and establish an Islamic state under Shariah law.
Both groups were formed by followers of ‘Tottenham Ayatollah’ Omar Bakri Mohammed, who says his own Al Muhajiroun organisation has been disbanded.
Izzadeen, 30, comes from a Christian family of Jamaican origin but converted to Islam when he was 17. He has boasted of going to terror camps in Pakistan to learn ‘bomb-making’.
He said last night: ‘What I would say about those who do suicide operations or martyrdom operations is they’re completely praiseworthy.
‘I have no allegiance to the Queen whatsoever or to British society, in fact if I see mujahideen attack the UK I am always standing with the Muslims, never against the Muslims.
‘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 Metropolitan Police said the comments did not appear to contravene current laws, such as incitement to murder. Leading lawyer Duncan Lamont said they could not constitute incitement as the men were defending a terrorist act rather than promoting one. Labour MP Khalid Mah-mood, himself a Muslim, said: ‘The new anti-terror laws should cover this sort of thing. But we need to act before that, because these groups are coaching and culturing young people so they can pass them on to even more extremist groups.
‘They need to be proscribed so they cannot act in the UK. It is the members of these groups we need to target so they can’t just change the name of the organisation and start up again.’ Inayat Bunglawala, spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain, called the men ‘deviants’. He added: ‘There is a good case for having these groups banned.
They have lost all concept of right and wrong and they have no concept of the value the Koran places on human life.’ Omar Bakri Mohammed claimed not to know either man, even though Izzadeen was once interviewed by a newspaper at the Al Muhajiroun offices.
The Syrian-born father of seven said: ‘I have never heard these names. Any responsible Muslim will say July 7 was not justified in Islam. But there is not any proof yet that Muslims were behind it.’
Legal expert last night explained how the comments made by Abu Izzadeen and Abu Uzair did not breach the law.
Duncan Lamont, of the London law firm Charles Russell, said: ‘However objectionable they may be, they do not constitute incitement to racial hatred because you would have to prove the intent to stir up racial hatred.
‘If the men had made these comments in front of a crowd they could have been arrested for public order offences. Bbut they made them in a prerecorded TV interview.
‘They would not be guilty of incitement to murder or incitement to commit terrorism either because the men are defending a terrorist act rather than promoting one. They have chosen their words carefully.’
Passengers fearing a terror attack scrambled from the top deck of a London bus yesterday after it began filling with smoke.
About 15 used the emergency exit at the back of the 205 near King’s Cross Station fearing a bomb attack. The smoke was later put down to an engine fault.
Passenger Ben Nyarko said: ‘People were panicking. I thought, like everyone else, there was a bomb.’ Four men and two women were treated for minor injuries and shock.
Jack Straw was accused of insulting British troops after he said they had become ‘part of the problem’ in Iraq.
Saying the Army’s withdrawal was ‘important to the Iraqis’, the Foreign Secretary added: ‘Although we are part of the security situation there, we are also part of the problem.’ Tory defence spokesman Gerald Howarth said his suggestion that the troops were ‘ helping fuel the terrorist insurgency in the country is monstrous’.