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World: Muslims In The West -- Radical Believes Suicide Bombers Acted With Right Intentions (Part 3)

  • Kathleen Moore

Kelly says the London attacks were "allowed" Britain is still struggling to come to terms with this summer's bombings in London, which killed more than 50 people. The attacks were perpetrated by Muslim extremists. But three out of the four suicide bombers were born in Britain. That fact has focused renewed attention on Britain's 1.5-million strong Muslim community -- from the contented, to the disaffected, to the radical. Authorities in Britain now have expanded powers to deport foreigners who promote terrorism, and they have already barred one prominent radical cleric, Omar Mohammad Bakri, from returning to Britain. In the third and final part of our series, RFE/RLspeaks to an associate of Bakri, who describes the London bombings as a "martyrdom operation."

Prague, 2 September 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Nearly a decade ago, Irish nurse Terence Kelly went to work in Saudi Arabia.

The salary was tax free. But Kelly soon found bigger money in making alcohol -- a strictly forbidden activity in the kingdom.

He was caught and sent to jail, where an Afghan introduced him to Islam. Khalid Kelly, as he is now known, left prison a convert.

"It just filled in all the gaps, you know? It was like the answer to everything I'd every wondered about. There was even a Captain Ali there at the prison, and he gave me a Koran. And I'll always remember it because he wrapped it in a piece of newspaper, you know, because he didn't have any wrapping paper. And he was so happy for me. He was nearly crying, the man. He said, 'I'm so happy you've come to the truth. It will change your life.' And indeed it did," Kelly says.

Kelly was deported to London three years ago and soon began attending sermons by the radical preacher Omar Mohammad Bakri.

He joined Bakri's now disbanded group, Al-Muhajiroun, dismissed as fringe by mainstream Muslim groups.

One of its most notorious stunts came on the second anniversary of the 11 September 2001 attacks, when the group planned a conference to celebrate America's "comeuppance," and called the hijackers the "Magnificent 19."

It was, Kelly says, a ploy to draw attention to what he calls the causes of 9/11.

"We wanted to look at the support of the West for the illegal occupation of Palestine, the support for the Israelis. We wanted to look at the support of the West for all the apostate rulers in the Middle East," Kelly says.

Then came the July attacks in London, and comments by Bakri and some of his followers sparked an outcry.

Bakri said he wouldn't tell police if he knew an attack was being prepared. Another associate called the bombings martyrdom operations.

Does Kelly agree with that description?

"Yep, we believe that if those brothers died for the sake of God with the right intention, we believe they will get paradise. And we believe that the people that they killed will get hellfire. I've heard many Muslims saying that what happened on 7/7 was not allowed. But I'm afraid it was. It was absolutely allowed," Kelly says.

Today, one of the suspected London suicide bombers -- identified as Mohammad Sidique Khan -- appeared on a videotape shown on Al-Jazeera television. On the video, he says the London attacks were conducted to avenge "atrocities" committed against Muslims around the world by democratically elected governments in the West. And he says Western civilians who support these governments must then be held "directly responsible."

In comments made before that videotape surfaced, Kelly also called the bombings a direct consequence of British foreign policy. They happened because some believe the "covenant of security" that prevented Muslims in Britain from attacking the country no longer applies.

But what of the Islamic injunction against the killing of innocents?

"No, you see, if you are part of a country that re-elects a government that's already committing atrocities against Muslims, there's no way you can turn around and say that you're innocent then. The only way to say that you're innocent is to completely disassociate yourself from the government, even to be charged with treason, to come out in total condemnation of your own government, give back your passport and say, 'I just don't want this country,' and leave. That's the only way you can be safe," Kelly says.

Kelly says he is not "at war" with anyone and his group has never propagated violence. He says they are merely passing on a message and asking people to listen -- that the only way to stop more bomb attacks like the ones in London and Madrid is to pull troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Osama bin Laden sent his message to Europe 18 months ago. He offered them a treaty, a covenant, to have a treaty, and there'd be no more bombings in Europe. He sent this to people, and people laughed at it. People didn't even listen to it. And, indeed, they sent more troops. So when you have this sort of ignorant, arrogant attitude, the feeling of the Muslims there is, basically, you will only understand in Europe how they feel when you yourselves are suffering -- when your wives, your daughters, your husbands are laying dead in the street. And we've seen that on 7/7. And we as part of Al-Muhajiroun were warning about that for years. We were saying, 'Hold on for a second here. People of Europe, listen. Listen to what Sheikh Osama bin Laden is saying. Listen, because it's going to come here,'" Kelly says.

It's not just Kelly's views on the London bombings that put him on the fringe.

He says he hates alcohol and pornography because God says to hate them -- and adds in the same breath that he hates Jews and Christians for the same reason.

But doesn't the Koran teach tolerance of "People of the Book"? Yes, he counters -- but only Jews and Christians of the time, not nowadays.

Some might ask -- if he hates so much about Britain and the West, why does he continue to live there?

Kelly says he hopes to emigrate to somewhere in the Middle East.

These are worrying times in Britain, he says -- and he doesn't feel safe traveling on the subway or buses these days.

See also:

Young People Struggling To Cope With Social Exclusion, Deprivation, Discrimination

Family's Hearts Are In England, Their Roots In Iran

In Video, Ringleader Of London Bombings Blames British Foreign Policy
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