Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Channel Four on Omar Bakri Mohammed

Jon Snow interviewed Omar Bakri Mohammed, the Islamist cleric who has been accused in many quarters of declaring war on the west in an internet sermon.

The tone of the interview was extraordinary. The best way I can describe it is a "jolly chat" with much good humour shown on both sides. Now charitably one could put this down to Snow trying to make Bakri Mohammed appear as a character not to be taken seriously. I hope it was not indicative of Snow not taking his threats seriously.

Snow's main point of attack was on the claim that the sermon called for Moslems to join al-Qaeda and in particular this quote:
"These people are calling you and shouting to you from far distant places: al jihad, al jihad. They say to you my dear Muslim brothers, ‘Where is your weapon, where is your weapon?’ Come on to the jihad,” he said.
They then debated the exact meaning of the word "jihad". Now frankly if Moslems disposed to violence disappear off to far distant lands that's fine with me, particularly if they choose one heavily populated by the US military. Far more worrying to me was this line:
“I believe the whole of Britain has become Dar ul-Harb (land of war). In such a state, he added, “the kuffar (non-believer) has no sanctity for their own life or property.”
Now that looks very much like a threat to non-moslems, and I cannot understand why it was not covered in the interview. The introduction to the piece did mention "land of war" but didn't explain the concept nor did it mention the status it gave to the "kuffar" as helpfully elaborated by Mr Bakri Mohammed.

I cannot understand why this should be.