Page last updated at 12:33 GMT, Thursday, 20 January 2005

Cleric denies UK al-Qaeda claims

Omar Bakri
Radical cleric Omar Bakri Mohammed

UK-based Islamic cleric Omar Bakri Mohammed has denied claims he is urging British Muslims to join al-Qaeda.

The Syrian-born preacher has been accused of using an internet sermon to encourage young people to join Osama Bin Laden's terrorist network.

But, in a GMTV interview, he said he was giving examples of groups - not "a call inciting people to take actions".

Police are studying his webcast, where he allegedly told listeners they were "obliged" to join the Mujahideen.

In an interview on Thursday with GMTV, he said that while he used the word al-jihad or "holy war" in the sermon, it did not always mean military action.

Deported

He said: "Jihad is also to look for a better job, to look for a better wife, to study, even to fight. And the word weapon, ask any Muslim, it does not always mean fighting."

The father of seven, was deported from Saudi Arabia because of his membership of a banned group. He came to the UK in 1985.

He caused outrage by suggesting that an attack on a British school - as in Beslan, Russia, - could be justified as long as women and children were not deliberately killed.

Bakri once referred to the 9/11 hijackers as the "magnificent 19".

He justified this by saying Bin Laden and President Bush were both leaders of different terrorist camps.

The Home Office has given him leave to remain in Britain for five years, but is reviewing this.

Home Office Secretary Charles Clarke has offered to assist Bakri if he wishes to return to Syria or the Lebanon.



SEE ALSO
My week as a terror suspect
20 Aug 04 |  Magazine
Bin Laden in his own words
15 Apr 04 |  South Asia
Profile: Mullah Mohammed Omar
06 Jul 10 |  South Asia

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific