The leader of the group that launched the recent parcel bomb attacks radicalised a generation of young Muslims during a “grand tour” of Britain, it can be disclosed.
05 Nov 2010
Anwar al-Awlaki was invited to speak to numerous groups around the country despite being a suspect in the September 11 attacks.
Security sources are concerned that Awlaki’s teachings became so widely acceptable that there are a number of Muslim disciples prepared to follow his advice and launch attacks in Britain.
In a glossy online magazine produced by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsular, in July, Awlaki told his followers: “Assassinations, bombings, and acts of arson are all legitimate forms of revenge against a system that relishes the sacrilege of Islam in the name of freedom.”
Awlaki was fleeing an FBI inquiry in the US in the wake of his involvement with three of the September 11 hijackers, when he arrived in Britain in late 2002.
But even with such a cloud hanging over him, he was “welcomed with open arms,” according to Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens, an expert on Awlaki at the Centre for the Study of Radicalisation at King’s College, London.
“It would be no exaggeration to say that his reception was unprecedented – to this day almost no other foreign-based preacher has compared,” Mr Meleagrou-Hitchens said.
Awlaki lectured for the Muslim Association of Britain, the Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS), and the Islamic Forum Europe (IFE) based at East London Mosque.
He began a “grand tour” of Britain, from London to Aberdeen, as part of a campaign by the Muslim Association of Britain in which one lecture was held in conjunction with the London School of Economics, Imperial College, King’s College and the School of Oriental and African Studies – all part of the University of London.
Read the rest at the Telegraph.