Another hysterical attack on Yusuf al-Qaradawi, from the Evening Standard. Dr al-Qaradawi, Tariq Ramadan and Azzam Tamimi of MAB are bracketed with Abu Qatada and Omar Bakri as “urging violence for Islam”.
Ken welcomes cleric who backed bombers
by Joe Murphy and Isabel Oakshott
Evening Standard, 18 July 2005
Ken Livingstone today backed an extreme Muslim cleric despite mounting calls to ban him from Britain. The Mayor said there was nothing wrong with allowing Yusuf al-Qaradawi to visit London to give a lecture.
The Egyptian-born scholar is banned from the US after praising suicide bombers as martyrs and vilifying Jews and homosexuals.
The Government is under intense pressure to stop allowing Islamic radicals to enter Britain – with a damning report today claiming extremists have been allowed to flourish in London. But today the Mayor said that the scholar should be given a voice in the wake of the London bombings.
Al-Qaradawi has been invited to make a speech to an Islamic conference in Manchester on 7 August. The 79-year-old was at the centre of uproar last year when Mr Livingstone welcomed him to City Hall despite protests. Demonstrations were mounted by a coalition of Jews, Sikhs, Hindus, Muslims and gay people. His latest visit to London will fuel criticism that the Government is playing into the hands of terrorists.
However, the Mayor says that Al-Qaradawi has condemned the London bombings. Asked if he would be welcoming the cleric again, Mr Livingstone today refused to give a direct answer. But he issued a statement which read:
“London at this time urgently needs people in all communities, above all in the Muslim community, who unequivocally condemn the bombings in London on 7 July and help us to isolate, find and deal with those considering further atrocities. I am for banning anyone who supports or is any way equivocal about condemning the terrorist attacks on London.”
Mr Livingstone said he was satisfied that Al-Qaradawi had condemned the atrocity as being wholly incompatible with Islam. He went on: “I believe it important that Britain’s Islamic community hears, through every means possible, condemnation of this from leading Islamic figures and urge them to speak out with all the means they possess on this issue.”
But Al-Qaradawi has defended and even praised suicide bombings carried out against Israel. He has said: “I consider this type of martyrdom operation is an evidence of God’s justice. Allah Almighty … has given the weak a weapon that the strong do not have and that is their ability to turn their bodies into bombs as Palestinians do.”
Last week, Downing Street announced that any foreigner banned from entering the US will face new hurdles entering Britain. In a major change in policy, such cases are to be automatically referred to Home Secretary Charles Clarke.
Today a Home Office spokesman said: “We do not discuss immigration status of individuals.” But the spokesman added: “The situation a year or two ago may be different from the situation in summer 2005 and that could mean a different decision.”
The Conservatives say the case could become a test of the Government’s willingness to get tough with Islamic extremists but would not comment before the Home Secretary’s deliberations.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s ambassador to the United Nations says Britain should not blame other countries for influencing the London suicide bombers. He said: “Your policies in the Middle East, your policies in the Islamic world … that is where the problem lies as far as this incident is concerned.”
A London-based radical Muslim leader today denied praising the terrorist attacks. Hani al-Sibai, who runs the Al-Maqreze Centre for Historical Studies from his home in Hammersmith, had claimed on Al Jazeera TV the day after the attacks that the bombers had “rubbed the noses” of the G8 leaders in the mud. But today he said: “I did not salute any bombers. Anybody who kills innocent people will go to hell.”
EXTREMISTS URGING VIOLENCE ‘FOR ISLAM’
Dr Azzam al Tamimi
Head of Institute of Islamic Political Thought. A Palestinian, has spoken out to back terror group Hamas. 50, lives in Willesden. Said: “A person that chooses to die by exploding himself … is not desperate … the destiny is eternal life.” Status: On Newsnight last week blamed US/ British foreign policies for inciting hatred.
Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed
Syrian-born self-styled “Tottenham Ayatollah”, in Britain since 1985. Expelled from Saudi Arabia, helped found Al-Muhajiroun group. Said: “Martyrdom is what you want. Do the effort. Al Qaeda is the victorious group … you are obliged to join.” Status: banned from preaching at many mosques. Lectures via internet forum.
Abdullah El Faisal
Jamaican-born cleric, 41 and Stratford-based, urged followers to join a holy war and sold them his taped sermons. Said: “You go to India and if you see a Hindu … you are allowed to kill him, is that clear? Jews are rotten. You have to learn how to load your guns and use missiles.” Status: Jailed for seven years for soliciting murder after tape was found in a car in 2002.
Described as Osama bin Laden’s ambassador in Europe. From Jordan, where he was convicted of inciting terrorist acts. Aged 45, lives in Acton. Said: “May Allah accept us all to be martyred. It is the right of every human to defend his religion.” Status: Seized in armed raid in London in 2002. Freed from Belmarsh prison this March. He must wear an electronic tag and observe a curfew.
Self-styled recruiter of UK volunteers, claims to give guidance on how to carry out suicide bombings in Israel. From Manchester, aged 25. Said: “The number of bombers is close to 50. They are waiting for the right time. When it’s right, they will be used.” Status: Security officials have doubted his claims but he was arrested in 2002. Watching brief is being maintained.
Egyptian-born academic, 44, has justified suicide bombings. Banned from US. Accused in Spain of having al-Qaeda link. Said: “In Palestine, Iraq, Chechnya there is oppression. It is legitimate for Muslims to resist fascism.” Status: Will speak at the Middle Path conference in London, partly funded by the Met, this Sunday.