Party aims to conquer the world for Islam: The organiser of tomorrow's Muslim rally at Wembley Stadium believes he and his followers have a divine mission

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The Independent Online
TWO ROOMS in an enterprise zone in Tottenham, north London, are the unprepossessing headquarters for Omar Bakri Muhammad's mission to turn Britain into an Islamic state, before converting the world to Islam.

Mr Bakri is the national organiser of the Hizb u Tahrir, the Islamic Liberation Party, which is staging tomorrow's rally at Wembley Stadium.

'We will conquer Britain,' he announced confidently, 'not by killing or stealing but by undermining the thought of the media and Western civilisation which pollutes Islam'.

Mr Bakri, 37, a printer from Damascus, has come to preach the word in the spiritual wilderness of Britain and prepare the way for the Islamic ruler, the Caliph. He arrived in Britain in 1985 from the Middle East as a computer salesman. After four years, he set up Khilafa Publications, printing anything from the party's 12-volume blueprint for the ideal Islamic state to tracksuit bottoms embossed with the words 'Khilafa State'. For almost a decade he has toured the country delivering up to 44 lectures a week.

He is hyperactive, equipped with mobile phones and constantly on the move promoting the Dawa or Islamic call.

He claims to have assembled some 2,000 members in Britain and taken control of Islamic societies in about 50 British universities. Among the young, the party operates almost like a cult and many parents in the Muslim community, especially of Afro-Caribbean origin, now fear their children coming under its influence. Officials of the National Union of Students were among the first to feal uneasy about the campus activities of the party with its outpourings of anti-Semitic views and hatred of homosexuals.

He is however a mere cog in the wheel of Muslim militancy. He became an activist while a student at Al-Azhar university, Cairo. Today he is the tip of the iceberg, and the great mass of his movement lies below the surface. His party is banned throughout the Arab world, and its members routinely tortured. He admits to receiving his orders from an underground leadership committee located in the Middle East. Mr Bakri first made headlines with a call to kill John Major on the eve of the Gulf war, when the Special Branch held him for 48 hours. But he dismisses terrorism as ineffective. 'You want to tell me that with all their Scuds and Patriot missiles the Western superpowers are frightened of the fundamentalists?' he asked. 'What they are frightened of is our thought, not our weapons.'

While Muslim leaders, such Egyptian-born Zaki Badawi of London's Muslim College, espouse a British Islam, Mr Bakri seeks to turn Britain's 1.5 million Muslims into a fifth column, owing its allegiance to the world-wide umma or Muslim community, not to a multicultural land.

He said that people are coming to the Wembley conference from all over the world representing every creed and view since the aim was to achieve the unity of the world's Muslims. He would not be drawn on who is financing them or where they will stay.

His party has been accused of stirring up hatred against Jews. In conversation, it was he who introduced the word 'terrorist'. 'You call us terrorists but we are not. But we do not accept the peace treaty with Israel because it is anti-Islamic. The Jews' Talmud and others of their books are full of violence and hatred for the whole of humanity. Why didn't the media highlight that?'

When it was pointed out to him that his party had distributed leaflets on university campuses, he replied: 'This is a mischief because that was taken out of context. Someone is trying to damage our relationship with other communities.'

He explained that the offending passage was not 'an edict or an order to kill a Jew every time you see one, but a prediction about the fate of the Jews on Judgement Day'.

When asked why his party did not issue a statement dissociating itself from the call to kill Jews, he said he could not because 'these are the words of Prophet Muhammad'.

Leading article, page 10

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