Scottish Daily Mail



AMONG those who helped radicalise me in Britain was rabblerous­ing Syrian-born preacher Omar Bakri Mohammed — a cheerleade­r for Al Qaeda, who came to public notoriety for describing the 9/11 hijackers as ‘the magnificen­t 19’ before fleeing to Lebanon.

I remember Bakri (pictured) addressing young bearded men wearing Taliban-style robes at a community centre in Luton, while women shrouded completely in black stood in a segregated section at the back.

The U.S. was massacring Muslims in Iraq, he declared, and it was our duty to fight back. There was no distinctio­n between civilians and non-civilians, innocents and non-innocents. The only real distinctio­n was between Muslims and disbelieve­rs, and the life of a disbelieve­r was worthless.

Several of his acolytes had become involved in terrorist plots — including one sponsored by Al Qaeda to set off large fertiliser-based bombs in the Ministry of Sound nightclub in London. He himself managed the trick of never being involved in their plans and thus evading the UK’s tough terrorism legislatio­n.

Behind closed doors, though, he gave permission for the killing of disbelieve­rs, the kuffar, in Britain. He was a man who had come to the UK to escape prosecutio­n for his militancy in Saudi Arabia, but gave his blessing to followers to kill people in the country that had given him sanctuary.

Omar Bakri designated me his ‘Emir of training’ and I led weekly expedition­s of young British extremists to Barton Hills, a nature reserve near Luton, for paramilita­ry exercises. I made the drills up as I went along from online Al Qaeda training videos.

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