Claim: “Abu Qatada is a really nice guy and just had a bit of bad press” …. is that factual?


Abu_Qatada_and_escort_prior_to_take_off_(cropped)Victoria Brittain, former associate foreign editor of the Guardian, writes an article in which she claims that, Abu Qatada, the religious thug that we finally managed to deport, is a jolly nice chap and has been rather unfortunate to have had a bit of bad press …

The home secretary, prime minister, mayor of London and countless MPs – including senior Labour party figures – have led the media in reckless and prejudiced comments, making Othman the most demonised individual in Britain.

This state-sanctioned hatred of one man is encapsulated by David Cameron’s words: “I am completely fed up with the fact that this man is still at large in our country.” MPs suggested that, as the courts had failed to remove him, the home secretary should just put him on a plane – even if that broke the law.

OK, so how does she know he is actually very nice? She explains …

I have been a friend of Othman’s wife and daughters for some years, and have had many opportunities to talk to him in prison, as well as some when he was at home on bail. I’ve been struck by his dignity and lack of bitterness over the treatment he and his family have suffered and I believe that, rather than being scapegoated, his moral standards could have been useful in engaging Muslim youth and healing the wounds in our divided society.

So what are the facts, what do we know? Well this is a chap who openly supports the idea that killing people who decide Islam is not for them and simply stop believing, is appropriate and moral. Really? … yes, he issued a fatwa saying it is justified to both kill Muslims who renounce their faith and kill their families. Knowing that, I do truly struggle to grasp why Ms Brittain thinks that his moral standards that appear to have been dragged from the gutter “could have been useful in engaging Muslim youth“, its a rather frightening thought.

We also know that he inspired the 9/11 attackers. Police in Germany find recordings of some of his radical sermons in a home used by them.

He has previously had extensive contacts with al-Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan.

He has had acted as the in-house alim to radical groups, particularly in Algeria, from his base in northwest London since 1994″. In 2001, after bin Laden was criticised by a Salafist faction for issuing fatwas, he turned to Abu Qatada for support, and the support was forthcoming.

When questioned in the UK in February 2001, Abu Qatada was in possession of £170,000 cash and £805 in an envelope labelled “For the Mujahedin in Chechnya”.

In October 1999 a sermon in London called for the killing of Jews and praised attacks on Americans.

Mr Justice Collins, former Siac chairman, which heard an appeal against his detention, said in 2004:

“The appellant was heavily involved, indeed was at the centre in the United Kingdom of terrorist activities associated with al-Qa’ida. He is a truly dangerous individual. We have no doubt that his beliefs are extreme and are indeed a perversion of Islam for the purposes of encouraging violence against non-Muslims and Muslims who are or have been supportive of Americans in particular.”

So yes, the evidence is there, this is no misunderstood mild-mannered cleric, but is indeed a violent religious thug. One of the attributes of a psychopath is that they can also be very very good at manipulating people and are indeed truly charming should you ever meet them, yet at the same time, when they stab you in the back, they will do so without any fuss or remorse. He may indeed have completely fooled Ms Brittain, and was highly motivated to do so because he needed the support, but a brief review of the facts soon exposes his superficial charm to simply be a deceptive façade.

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Oh, and least you wonder, no this is not the guy with the hook, that is Abu Hamza.

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