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Islamist sect banned as security threat 'is recruiting teenagers'

Islamist sect banned as security threat 'is recruiting teenagers'

Author: Robert Mendick
Publication: ThisIsLondon.co.uk
Date: September 19, 2008
URL: http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23557570-details/Islamist+sect+banned+as+security+threat+'is+recruiting+teenagers'/article.do

A militant Islamic sect banned by the Government as a threat to national security has launched a campaign to radicalise teenagers in east London, the Evening Standard can reveal.

Al-Muhajiroun, headed by exiled cleric Omar Bakri Mohammed, tonight begins a recruitment drive targeting young Muslims - despite being outlawed under terror laws introduced in the wake of the 7/7 suicide bomb attacks on London.

Several members of the sect have been jailed in recent years for terror-related offences but there are fears the group is thriving again under a new name.

The group has launched a website, Islam4uk.com.

It is advertising its first youth conference, entitled Muslim Youth: The Spark of the Fire, at a community centre in Walthamstow - close to the homes of six men who face a retrial over a plot to blow up transatlantic airliners. Islam4uk.com is a reincarnation of al-Muhajiroun in all but name. It is headed by Bakri Mohammed, now living in Lebanon, and his deputy Anjem Choudary, its official spokesman.

The two have kept a relatively low profile since the 7 July attacks on London in 2005 but have become emboldened in recent weeks.

The youth conference tonight is being addressed by two notorious extremists, Abu Uzair and Abu Waleed.

Uzair, 40, who was a follower of jailed preacher Abu Hamza at Finsbury Park mosque, sprang to prominence when he praised the 9/11 hijackers as " magnificent" and claimed that if he knew terrorists were planning a suicide attack, he would not alert police.

In an interview with the BBC, Uzair declared: "We don't live in peace with you any more. The banner has been risen for jihad inside the UK, which means it's allowed for bombers to attack."

Waleed, another disciple of Hamza's, was caught on video earlier this year making a joke about Muslims taking backpacks on to the London Underground.

Having laid low for the past three years - since Bakri was forced to live in exile in Lebanon - there is concern al-Muhajiroun is growing in strength.

At a meeting last Thursday - as first reported by the Standard - almost 100 Muslims attended to hear a live video link-up with Bakri.

Andrew Dismore, the Labour MP for Hendon, who first called for al-Muhajiroun to be banned 10 years ago, said today: "This new group needs to be banned. Islam4uk is clearly just another side of the same coin.

"This shows the real difficulty with these splinter groups. The fact they are now getting 100 people to their meetings is very alarming."

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