Mark Steel: We need a minister for Abu Qatada

If al-Qa'ida were smart, they would get 50 of their men to make a DVD each

Share
Related Topics

Can this be right, that Theresa May, the Home Secretary, has gone to Jordan for three days to sort out deporting Abu Qatada? How dangerous is this bloke? You could understand the Minister responsible for Britain putting everything aside for three days if we'd captured The Joker, or Doctor Evil. But is Abu Qatada really in that league?

Maybe he is, and the next Batman film will star an evil villain called Shouty Man, who demands 10 billion dollars otherwise he'll yell on a blurry DVD that can be seen on YouTube for 10 minutes until the authorities take it down. It's quite an achievement to be the most dangerous man in Britain when you're only allowed out twice a day, to visit the local shop accompanied by marksmen. His preaching must be so influential that the slightest contact converts people.

There are old women he's brushed past who have confessed how, "I was just buying some cat food when he came up behind me preaching and he seemed ever so convincing. So when I got home I told my Sidney he was a heathen infidel fit only for the raging fires of eternal agony for letting me out in tights that weren't dark enough, and the next thing I know I'm at a training camp in Afghanistan firing rocket launchers, which hasn't done my shingles any good at all."

If they don't manage to sort him out in these three days, there will need to be a Minister for Abu Qatada, paid for by shutting down one of the other departments like the Foreign Office. And we should be instructed in making shelters we can crawl in when the sirens go off, in case his preaching causes the house to collapse.

If al-Qa'ida were smart, they'd take notice of this, and instead of blowing things up they'd get 50 of their men to make a DVD each and then the entire country would be dedicated to getting them sent abroad. Two thirds of the economy would be the Daily Mail, which would need to be 7,000 pages long every day to report how deadly all these madmen were.

The person who loves all this most of all must be Abu Qatada. Most people who spend their days ranting a pile of gibberish are delighted to get one response on the internet, but he's got ministers flying round the world.

And the object of Theresa May's visit is to get assurances from the Jordanian government that if we send him there and they make him stand trial, they won't use evidence obtained under torture. Which is well worth a three-day visit because if there's one thing the past year has taught us it's this: if you can't trust the word of an unelected Middle Eastern dictator then who CAN you trust?

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

English Teacher

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: English Teacher - Saffron ...

Primary Supply Teacher - Northants

£90 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Leicester: Primary School Supply Teache...

Maths Teacher

£21000 - £35000 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Maths Teacher - Saffro...

Chemistry Teacher - Top School in Malaysia - January Start

£18000 - £20400 per annum + Accommodation, Flights, Medical Cover: Randstad Ed...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Being catcalled, groped and masturbated at is a common part of the female experience

Bryony Beynon
A general view at the 'Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red' evolving art installation at the Tower of London  

London's sea of poppies is a beautiful monument to the fallen of World War I

Ken Eggleston
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

"I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'
Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

Buried treasure: The Letter for the King

The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom has sold a million copies since it was written by an eccentric Dutchwoman in 1962. Yet until last year, no one had read it in English
Can instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in pupils have a positive effect on their learning?

The school that means business

Richard Garner heads to Lancashire, where developing the 'dragons' of the future is also helping one community academy to achieve its educational goals
10 best tablets

The world in your pocket: 10 best tablets

They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained
Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents

Lutz Pfannenstiel interview

The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents
Pete Jenson: Popular Jürgen Klopp can reignite Borussia Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern Munich

Pete Jenson's a Different League

Popular Klopp can reignite Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern
John Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

The use of the British hostage demonstrates once again the militants' skill and originality in conducting a propaganda war, says Patrick Cockburn
The killer instinct: The man who helps students spot potential murderers

The killer instinct

Phil Chalmers travels the US warning students how to spot possible future murderers, but can his contentious methods really stop the bloodshed?
Clothing the gap: A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd

Clothing the gap

A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd
Fall of the Berlin Wall: Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain