Page last updated at 17:36 GMT, Thursday, 17 April 2008 18:36 UK

Profile: Abu Izzadeen

Abu Izzadeen
Abu Izzadeen has a history of making controversial comments

BBC News looks at the life of radical Muslim preacher Abu Izzadeen, who has been convicted of terrorist fund-raising and inciting terrorism overseas.

Islamist activist Abu Izzadeen was born in Hackney, east London, to Jamaican parents who arrived in the UK in the early 1960s.

Born a Christian, with the name Omar Brooks, he converted to Islam at the age of 17.

The preacher told the jury at his trial that he had a tough childhood in "the most deprived borough in London".

Izzadeen has three children between the ages of two and nine after marrying his wife at the age of 22.

He trained and worked as a BT technician, but stopped working to spend more time speaking at mosques and went on to become a member of the now banned al Muhajiroun group.

The 32-year-old, from Leytonstone, east London, came to prominence when he interrupted a speech by John Reid, the then home secretary, in 2006.

Shame on all of us for sitting down and listening to him
Abu Izzadeen, interrupting John Reid

Mr Reid was asking Muslim parents to keep a close eye on their children and act if they suspected they were being radicalised by extremists.

Mr Izzadeen shouted out: "Shame on all of us for sitting down and listening to him."

He said he was "furious" about "state terrorism by British police" and accused the minister of being an "enemy" of Islam before being led from the building by police and stewards.

And he was investigated for controversial comments about the 7 July suicide attacks, which he described as "mujahideen activity" which would make people "wake up and smell the coffee".

A probe followed comments made by him in an interview aired on BBC's Newsnight programme, just a few weeks after the bombings, in which he claimed the attacks were the consequence of Britain's refusal to accept the offer of a "ceasefire" from Osama bin Laden.

Radical groups

He said: "I'm sure if you asked those who passed away on July 7, should we negotiate with Osama bin Laden, they would say yes, to bring their lives back, to save themselves from the burning inferno underground."

During the interview, the activist also said he had "no allegiance" to the Queen or British society.

The police and Crown Prosecution Service discussed the possibility of bringing treason charges against Izzadeen following the interview.

The preacher has been associated for some years with radical Islamist politics in the UK was a member of Al Ghurabba as well as al-Muhajiroun.

The groups Izzadeen has been associated with were banned in 2006 under anti-terrorism legislation passed in the wake of the 2005 London bombings.

Al-Muhajiroun had announced it was disbanding in 2004, although it was unclear whether its members were still meeting.

Inciting terrorism

Its former leader, radical self-styled cleric Omar Bakri Mohammed, left the country following the London bombings.

Some of his followers established two new organisations, one of which was Al Ghurabba.

Izzadeen became one of the group's main spokesmen and would willingly give interviews.

He has been a regular attendee at public events staged by radical groups in London.

The preacher has now been convicted of terrorist fund-raising and inciting terrorism overseas, following charges related to speeches made at London's Regent's Park mosque in November 2004.

Kingston Crown Court heard about a speech made by Izzadeen after US forces began their attack on the Iraqi city of Falluja.

He told his audience: "Allah gave mujahideen chance to kill the American."


SEE ALSO

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 iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2020 BBC. 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