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Last Updated: Sunday, 21 March, 2004, 23:07 GMT
British cleric: Jihad is the only way
Abu Qatada
Abu Qatada - "A truly dangerous individual"
A British Muslim cleric branded "bin Laden's ambassador in Europe" claimed that a jihad, or holy war was the only way to prevent attacks on Islam.

Abu Qatada, who is currently being held in Belmarsh prison under anti-terrorism laws, spoke to the BBC's Panorama programme two years ago.

He also claimed that Osama bin Laden should be supported by every Muslim.

He added: "In the image I have of him - that is the image of a Muslim man who defends the causes of his nation against its enemies - should be supported by every Muslim.

"It's only through jihad that we can resist the targeting of the Islamic nation."

Suicide bombers

It's only through jihad that we can resist the targeting of the Islamic nation.
Abu Qatada

Abu Qatada, who was described as bin Laden's ambassador in Europe by a judge investigating the part Spanish extremists played in September 11, was living on benefits in West Acton, London at the time of the interview in November 2001.

When police raided his home they found 170,000 in cash - money that it was suspected was being used to fund a world-wide jihad.

He told the programme that his role was merely to teach about Islam, adding: "It is then up to the individual to decide how to implement."

However, several al-Qaeda recruits have acknowledged the cleric's influence on him. Videos of Abu Qatada were also found in a flat used by members of al-Qaeda in Hamburg.

But the cleric, who used to preach to groups of young Arabs in his house, also refused to condemn suicide bombers.

Terrorist activities

Asked if he believed it was acceptable for someone to die in the cause of Jihad, he said: "In modern jurisprudence these are called martyrdom operations.

"Most scholars agree they are permissible if they achieve the aims of Muslims, fending off Islam's enemies or if they are to deter invasions."

Earlier this month, Abu Qatada failed in his appeal to be freed from Belmarsh prison, when a judge said he was a "truly dangerous individual".

The judge added that he was "heavily involved, indeed was at the centre in the UK of terrorist activities associated with al-Qaeda."

Terror - Are We Next?
16 Mar 04  |  Panorama
Who is winning the war?
17 Mar 04  |  Panorama
Your comments
19 Mar 04  |  Panorama


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