Exiled cleric preaches at London primary school

A London primary school played host to a meeting of Muslims at which an extremist preacher called for Britain to become an Islamic state.

Omar Bakri spoke for 40 minutes by telephone from Lebanon, where he is in hiding from security forces seeking his arrest over his alleged involvement in training terrorists.

He told the group gathered at Sudbury Primary School in North London:”The existence of the Islamic state is a necessity for justice to be established, a necessity for the people in order to keep away from personal desire and greed.”

He added: “I believe the way forward is Islam. It is time to go back to basics. I believe Islam is the future.”

Previously, when asked if he condemned the followers of Osama bin Laden, the Syrian-born cleric said: “I condemn Tony Blair. I condemn George Bush. I would never condemn Osama bin Laden or any Muslims.”

Nicknamed “the Tottenham Ayatollah” for his extremist activity in the Eighties and early Nineties in Britain, Mr Bakri has blamed the Government and the British public for the 7 July bombings.

News of the primary school meeting comes days after Ed Husain, Co-Director of Muslim think-tank Quilliam, warned that British mosques were “run by men who are physically in Britain, but psychologically in Pakistan”.

A Quilliam Foundation survey showed that 97 per cent of imams were from overseas, with 92 per cent educated abroad, largely in Pakistan or Bangladesh.

Almost half the mosques failed to provide facilities for Muslim women, and 44 per cent were not giving a lecture in English before weekly prayers.

The research follows news last month that the Muslim population in the UK grew by 500,000 in the last four years, now standing at 2.4 million.

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