Score one for having the courage of your convictions:
A controversial Islamic cleric has left the UK for the Middle East, his spokesman has said, amid speculation he would be investigated for treason.
Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed – former head of radical group Al Muhajiroun – left on Saturday for Lebanon, his colleague Anjem Choudary told the BBC.
Tony Blair had warned Mr Mohammed’s organisation faced a potential ban under new anti-terrorism measures.
Mr Choudary said the cleric believed “Britain had declared war on Muslims”.
The news came as it was revealed police and lawyers were to consider whether some outspoken Islamist radicals could face treason charges.
This is a rather odious chap, and I hope they have a way to keep an eye on him. At the very least, they will be monitoring this:
The cleric had said his followers would soon be able to “access him” with a planned new presence on the internet and that the British people would hear from him soon.
Asked if Bakri Mohammed had gone because he feared being either deported or prosecuted for his militant views, Mr Choudary said: “He was not afraid to stay behind [in the UK] for any reason at all. It’s a case of him being able to practice his religion.
“But he has always said that if the British people did not want him to stay, then he would go.”
When your ‘religion’ is encouraging people to attack and murder innocent citizens, it isn’t too shocking that your host country may not be very tolerant.
Did the IRA cause a religious backlash? Oh wait, that was completely different. They only used religion as a rallying cry, the real issue was driving an occupyer from the homeland.
Can we stop blaming the religion, and focus on the fanatics? The wacko-extremists of ANY religion are capable of terrorist acts.
Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi? So called Moslem.
Sean Kelly? So called Christian.
Eden Natan Zada? So called Jew.
Eric Rudolph? So called Christian.
In my view these indiscriminant killers give up any claim to their religion, when they stoop to terrorism against innocent civilians.
Any faith can be twisted to justify violence. The vast majority of Islamic clerics have rejected these acts as anti-Koran and anti-Islam.
Let’s not over-generalize ourselves into persecuting an entire faith. Stick to facts, and stick to individuals.
I wasn’t talking about Islam. I was talking about his bizarre claim that his ‘religion’ could not be practiced. I added quotes o’ sarcasm to the original to clear that up.
Ok…thanks for clearing up the clearing up!
It bothers me that a sort of “gag law” on terrorism might be passed for a number of reasons. Firstly, it won’t actually shut people up, just make them talk a bit more quietly. Secondly, it’s just too much of a violation of free speech. As much as it disgusts me to say this, you should have the right to say that you want to blow up your own country. Because much like every other right, it just feels instinctual not to draw too many lines against it.
Imagine if we had similar laws on our books. Could Dick Durbin have been charged with “sympathizing with the enemy” for his Gitmo remarks? Could lefty bloggers and academics get thrown in jail for making the claim “We Americans had it coming to us”. I mean, I don’t appreciate the rhetoric, but I don’t like the idea that you can be penalized, even stripped of your citizenship (which in this day and age could easily mean a one-way ticket to torture center HQ) because you want to shoot your mouth off.
Any censor of speech for whatever reason steps on very dangerous turf. I’m not sorry to see the freaky Mullah leave, but I’m even less comfortable about the reasons for his departure.
It’s not too far-fetched to believe simultaneously that 1) his religion consists of more than incitements to violence, and 2) he finds that the climate in the UK does not allow him to practice his religion.
It’s not as if incitements to violence are absent from traditional American religions, either. Far from it. This is dangerous ground Blair is treading on. Again, I’m glad that the US has a Constitution which sets firm guidelines in this area.