Unbelievable, but you'd better believe it
Islamic cleric supports targeting childrenTelegraph (UK) : An extremist Islamic cleric based in Britain said yesterday that he would support hostage-taking at British schools if carried out by terrorists with a just cause.
Omar Bakri Mohammed, the spiritual leader of the extremist sect al-Muhajiroun, said that holding women and children hostage would be a reasonable course of action for a Muslim who has suffered under British rule.
In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, Mr Mohammed said: "If an Iraqi Muslim carried out an attack like that in Britain, it would be justified because Britain has carried out acts of terrorism in Iraq."
Mr Mohammed, 44, who lives in Edmonton, north London, but is originally from Syria, also claimed that the Chechen rebels were not responsible for the deaths of more than 350 people - at least half of them children - who are so far known to have died in Beslan."
The Mujahideen [Chechen rebels] would not have wanted to kill those people, because it is strictly forbidden as a Muslim to deliberately kill women and children. It is the fault of the Russians," he said.
The father of seven came to Britain in 1985 after being deported from Saudi Arabia because of his membership of a banned group. He has since been given leave by the Home Office to remain in Britain for five years but the Government is reviewing his status.
He gave an interview yesterday to promote a "celebratory" conference in London next Saturday to commemorate the third anniversary of the September 11 attacks.
UPDATE on Conference celebrating 9/11
Al-Muhajiroun leader Omar Bakri, a Syrian residing in London, told the paper by phone that the convention would feature Al-Qa'ida "surprises," with the screening of a never-before-shown video. He said that the convention will focus on "the anniversary of the division of the world into two great camps – the camp of faith and the camp of unbelief," and would take place September 11, 2004 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Bakri added: "On this day, we will talk about the ramifications of these [9/11] operations for Afghanistan and Iraq… We want the world to remember this operation … that lifted the head of the [Muslim] nation."
Bakri called 9/11 "a cry of Jihad against unbelief and oppression," and said that the aim of remembering it is to "revive the commandment of Jihad among the youth of the [Muslim] nation."
Bakri said that the convention will also feature a lecture about the Islamic religious roots of "slaughtering the infidels" . . .