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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 July, 2005, 10:04 GMT 11:04 UK
Deportation 'not terror solution'
Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed
Omar Bakri Mohammed says he would never co-operate with police
Islamic cleric Omar Bakri Mohammed has said deporting him from Britain would not stop terrorist attacks.

The Syrian-born preacher has faced calls to leave after partly blaming the UK government, public and Muslim community for the 7 July London bombs.

But, speaking on Radio 4, Sheikh Bakri said he and others termed "radical Muslims" held back Muslim youths from "doing anything foolish".

"We are part of the solution and not part of the problem," he said.

Calls to leave

Andrew Love, MP for Edmonton, the constituency where Sheikh Bakri lives, joined calls on Wednesday night for the cleric's deportation.

Terming Sheikh Bakri an "evil fanatic", the Sun newspaper has since reiterated its calls for him to be deported.

I don't believe deportation will solve the problem and can be in any way a cure for what happened
Omar Bakri Mohammed

Meanwhile, the Daily Express - under the headline "At last Britain may kick out cleric of hate" - claimed a new deal announced by the home secretary could result in Sheikh Bakri's deportation.

Charles Clarke told MPs that Britain is setting up a global database of extremists who face automatic vetting before being allowed in.

He said the database would list "unacceptable behaviour" such as radical preaching, and publishing websites and articles intended to foment terrorism.

He also said the UK had reached an agreement with Jordan which would enable Britain to deport Jordanian nationals suspected of inciting or supporting terrorism.


Sheikh Bakri told Today he said he would leave if asked to: "I would never challenge, you know, the legal system, I would rather prefer to be in prison or deported."

But he said: "I don't believe deportation will solve the problem and can be in any way a cure for what happened."

He said he and others had held back Muslim youths from doing anything wrong for the past 20 years.

I say to you, self-sacrifice operation in Muslim countries, it is part of the Islamic culture
Omar Bakri Mohammed

"Unfortunately, after we retire, and we have been banned from any activities, we become completely isolated from the youths and the youths they start to go forward to somebody else abroad."

Sheikh Bakri said he would not go to the police if he heard of a terrorist plot because he believed the Prophet Mohammad taught to "support your Muslim brothers, whether he is the oppressor or oppressed".

But he said: "I would call all Muslim communities with me to stop him, to prevent him."


Sheikh Bakri said suicide bombings were commonplace in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Middle East.

"I say to you, self-sacrifice operation in Muslim countries, it is part of the Islamic culture. The only way to change is to look to the cause, the cause of it is Western forces - don't occupy Muslim land."

He said Britons should use all political means "to make the British government realise that they create enemy, whether abroad or at home because of their own invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan".

CCTV image of the bombers arriving at Luton Station

But he said he believed Islam forbade Muslims to fight the people they lived side by side with.

"To live among them, and sell with them and deal with them and trade with them and then fight them, that is completely not Islamic."

On Wednesday, the Islamic cleric told BBC News 24 that there was no evidence that the four men named by police as the perpetrators of the London bombers were in fact responsible.

He said he did not believe the bombers were true Muslims and condemned "any killing of innocent people here and abroad".

The Metropolitan Police has confirmed that Mohammad Sidique Khan, 30, Hasib Hussain, 18, Shehzad Tanweer, 22, and Germaine Lindsay, 19, carried out the bombings.

The force released a CCTV image of the group entering Luton station on the day of the explosions, in which they, and 52 others died.

Watch Omar Bakri Mohammed's interview


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