Inayat Bunglawala on Bakri ban

Omar Bakri“Bakri has been the source of an immense amount of frustration and dismay to Muslims ever since he came to these shores 20 years ago,” said Inayat Bunglawala of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB).

“With his very provocative language, he has contributed enormously to the demonisation of British Muslims. Far from being a leading Islamic jurist, he was not even the imam of any mosque. No mosque would have him apart from Finsbury Park. He is from the extreme fringe. Most Muslims would want nothing to do with him. He is derided by his peers for his half-baked ideas.

“He is someone who courted the media spotlight and now he has a symbiotic relationship with the tabloids. He didn’t have a platform before but now the tabloids have given him that platform. He is a very convenient bogeyman and they can use him to scare the pants off their readers.

“An example of how distorted his moral compass is that he said that if he knew of a planned attack he would not tell the police. The idea that Muslims cannot hand over a Muslim to a non-Muslim is absolute nonsense. There is a not a single verse in the Qur’an that suggests this. Quite the opposite, we are taught to be upholders of justice, preventing evil.

“No Muslim would shed any tears if he was not allowed back in because he has helped to create the climate of anger.”

But Mr Bunglawala said there should be caution on the issue of banning him as “there is a danger that it creates a precedent”.

Guardian, 13 August 2005