12/08/2005

Bakri Mohammed barred from the UK

Radical Muslim cleric Omar Bakri Mohammed will not be allowed to return to Britain, the Home Office has announced.

Bakri Mohammed left the UK last week and went to Lebanon allegedly on holiday to visit his mother. He said that he planned to return to the UK, where he has lived for twenty years, after seeking political asylum in the mid-Eighties.

However, on Friday the Home Office confirmed that Bakri Mohammed would not be allowed to return to Britain, stating that Home Secretary Charles Clarke has used existing powers to exclude him from the UK because “his presence is not conducive to the public good”.

However, the Home Office said the decision would not affect Mr Bakri’s family, who would continue to receive state benefits. His wife and seven children live in north London.

The radical cleric, who is the founder member of the now disbanded group al Muhajiroun, caused outrage in Britain after the July 7 bombings, when he said that he would not inform police of terror attacks planned by British Muslims.

His departure from the UK came just one day after Prime Minister Tony Blair announced a series of new measures aimed at tackling extremists who appeared to condone terrorism.

Bakri Mohammed was arrested in Lebanon on Thursday, following a television interview. However, it is understood that he was arrested on a routine matter, regarding the circumstances of his entry to Lebanon and he was expected to be released on Friday.

It has also been reported that Syria has requested Lebanon to hand the cleric over to them, in connection with previous crimes he was allegedly convicted of in the country.

On Thursday, 10 foreign nationals were detained in the UK, because they were deemed to pose a threat to national security. Another radical cleric, Abu Qatada, is among those detained and he is facing deportation to his native Jordan. It was reported on Friday that he could be deported as early as next week.

(KMcA/SP)


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