Written by MEMRI
Sheikh Omar Bakri: "This is true Salafism: Pure and complete religious preaching, and we only brandish our weapons against those who fight us. If we are fought and prevented from calling people to join Islam, a right that everybody has... You call this 'freedom of expression,' but I call it a religious duty to preach for the sake of Allah. If I am prevented from performing this duty, I must either defend myself or emigrate. They prevented me from doing this in Britain, so I emigrated to Lebanon."
Interviewer: "What is your problem with the British? We all know that you left before they decided you would not be allowed to return, and revoked your British citizenship, even though your family still has citizenship."
Bakri: "The problem with Britain is that its law is not the law sent down by Allah. This country says that it implements democracy, freedom of expression, personal liberties, and the right to own property, but when I expressed my belief by preaching to Islam - there was an impressive response in the universities, and George and Michael became Omar and Abd Al-Rahman, and Jane became Hadija...
"Within 20 Years, British Society Will Have A Muslim Majority"
"When they saw that Islam was spreading in British universities at an unprecedented rate, and that the non-Muslims - the Hindus, the Christians and the Jews - were accepting Islam at an average rate of 21 people a day, it began to endanger their society. Within 20 years, British society will have a Muslim majority. Of course, this cannot be allowed by this secular regime, which wants to strip society of any religious values connected to Allah.
"In cases of self-defense, there are victims, who are not intentionally targeted. They are killed by mistake, as collateral damage, not intentionally... When America bombs Sudan, Somalia, and Iraq, and sows destruction, the Muslims have the right to retaliate, and then there might be victims.
"Why do people say that Islam is being distorted today, when these are jihad operations against an enemy occupying Muslim lands? What's the difference between America in Iraq and Israel in Palestine?"
Interviewer: "There is a difference between fighting an American or Israeli soldier, who is occupying my land..."
Bakri: "When the American soldier takes off his uniform and wears pajamas, it becomes forbidden to fight him?"
"There Are Two Types of Terrorism, Blessed and Deplorable - [The Mujahideen's] Terrorism is Blessed"
Interviewer: "Was there a military base in the Twin Towers, which were destroyed?"
Bakri: "It was not just the Twin Towers, but also the U.S. Department of Defense... The 9/11 operation is a matter subject to personal judgment. Some people were against, and others supported it..."
Interviewer: "When explosives are placed on trains and in coffee shops... If I am under occupation, and I carry out attacks against it, that's one thing..."
Bakri: "You can call such operations terrorist operations par excellence. But today, America represents the camp of Western terrorism, and there is another camp of terrorism within Islam. But there are two types of terrorism: Blessed and deplorable. The same is true with regard to violence. Violence can either take lives or save lives. In both cases, it is violence. America's violence is meant to take lives, and so its terrorism is deplorable, whereas the violence the mujahideen use for defense and retaliation is meant to protect lives and defend honor. Their terrorism is blessed. Not all terrorism is deplorable.
"The problem with Hizbullah is that it believes in resistance for the sake of the land. We believe that fighting for the sake of land..."
Interviewer: "... is forbidden, because fighting should be for the sake of Allah."
Bakri: "I was created from mud, I fight for the mud of Shaba', and I will be buried in mud - my entire history is muddy... I fight for the sake of God who lives and does not die. I fight to glorify the word of Allah. If in Lebanon, they would fight to glorify the word of Allah, I'd say: Fine, let them fight for Shaba', liberate it, and instate the law of Allah. But if all they want is to liberate the Shaba' Farms, and then instate what is known here as the 'Lebanese law' - I do not accept this."
Interviewer: "You are talking about Lebanon as if you do not belong here."
Though I Was Given British Citizenship, "I Refused to Swear That I Would Obey the Queen or the Laws - I Obey Only Allah and His Messenger"
Bakri: "I belong to Islam. I did not belong to Britain when I lived there. I was a Muslim living in Britain, now I am a Muslim living in Lebanon, and tomorrow I will be a Muslim living in Iraq. God only knows, I may be a Muslim in prison."
Interviewer: "So why did you take British citizenship?"
Bakri: "I didn't take it. They gave it to me."
Interviewer: "So why didn't you reject it?"
Bakri: "I did not carry their ID. I did not have a British passport. I used a Lebanese passport to get back here."
Male guest: "They took it away from him."
Interviewer: "Why didn't he reject it beforehand?"
Bakri: "They took away my right to become a citizen. They didn't give me a passport because I refused to pledge allegiance to the queen. My wife and children got passports because they were born there. I refused to swear that I would obey the queen or the laws. I obey only Allah and His Messenger."