Hate cleric Bakri held in Lebanon

Lebanese authorities have detained ‘preacher of hate’ Omar Bakri Mohammed, just days after he arrived in Beirut from London, a Lebanese security source said.

“Sheikh Bakri was picked up by security forces as he was on his way to a local television station for an interview,” the source said. He gave no reason for the cleric’s detention.

Yesterday it was revealed that the extremist Islamic preacher may undergo heart surgery in an NHS hospital if he returns to the UK.

The so-called “Tottenham Ayatollah” was visiting Lebanon on ‘religious duties’ but said he planned to return to the UK in a month’s time.

Bakri, who says he has a congenital heart problem, has already missed several appointments or had them postponed, friends said, but another one is likely to be scheduled before the end of the year.

Friends say that, because he is missing a bone in his ankle, he is unable to exercise and that has contributed to the narrowing of his coronary arteries.

Earlier this year the father-of-seven, who uses a walking stick, took delivery of a ?30,000 people carrier paid for under the Motability scheme.

He is estimated to have received several hundred thousand pounds in benefits during his two decades in the UK.

Bakri sparked outrage last week by saying he would not inform police if he knew Muslim extremists were planning a bomb attack in Britain.

He left for Beirut amid suggestions that he could be tried for treason but the Government has since made clear there is no prospect of that.

Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott admitted there was nothing to stop the firebrand cleric coming and going at the moment from the UK.

But a review of the Home Secretary’s powers to exclude people who promote terrorism could be complete by the time Bakri heads home, allowing him to be barred.

Tory leader Michael Howard argued that present powers were already sufficient to keep Bakri out and he called on the Government to use those powers “without delay”.

“The Home Secretary has the power to exclude from this country people whose presence here is not conducive to the public good,” he said.


(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
Reuters, via the Daily Mail, UK
Aug. 11, 2005
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Religion News Blog posted this on Thursday August 11, 2005.
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