- An extremist Islamic cleric based in Britain said yesterday
that he would support hostage-taking at British schools if carried out
by terrorists with a just cause.
- Omar Bakri Mohammed, the spiritual leader of the extremist
sect al-Muhajiroun, said that holding women and children hostage would
be a reasonable course of action for a Muslim who has suffered under British
- In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, Mr Mohammed
said: "If an Iraqi Muslim carried out an attack like that in Britain,
it would be justified because Britain has carried out acts of terrorism
- "As long as the Iraqi did not deliberately kill
women and children, and they were killed in the crossfire, that would be
- Mr Mohammed, 44, who lives in Edmonton, north London,
but is originally from Syria, also claimed that the Chechen rebels were
not responsible for the deaths of more than 350 people - at least half
of them children - who are so far known to have died in Beslan.
- "The Mujahideen [Chechen rebels] would not have
wanted to kill those people, because it is strictly forbidden as a Muslim
to deliberately kill women and children. It is the fault of the Russians,"
- The father of seven came to Britain in 1985 after being
deported from Saudi Arabia because of his membership of a banned group.
He has since been given leave by the Home Office to remain in Britain for
five years but the Government is reviewing his status.
- He gave an interview yesterday to promote a "celebratory"
conference in London next Saturday to commemorate the third anniversary
of the September 11 attacks.
- Andrew Dismore, the Labour MP for Hendon, was infuriated
by Mr Mohammed's comments. "That sounds to me like incitement and
I will report him to Scotland Yard," he said. "It is an insult
to most moderate Muslims, who are sick of people like this claiming to