Omar Bakri Muhammad will not be allowed back into Britain, the government has insisted after reports emerged he intends to claim asylum in the UK.
The preacher, who lived in the UK for around 20 years, faces the death sentence for running a terror cell in Lebanon and claims he has been tortured. Family members have said they are launching an urgent appeal to allow him back into Britain under asylum laws.
But a Home Office spokesman told ITV: “Omar Bakri Muhammad was permanently excluded from the UK in 2005 on the grounds that his presence is not conducive to the public good. As Omar Bakri Muhammad is excluded from the UK, he will be unable to make a claim for asylum.”
The Home Office statement followed an appeal by the family of Omar Bakri who said he has suffered systematic torture while in custody at a maximum security prison. The family says he should be allowed back into Britain on “humanitarian grounds” as his health has deteriorated and he’s no longer able to walk.
Bakri caused outrage in the wake of the 2005 London bombings after saying he would not inform police if he knew Muslims were planning attacks. He left the UK in 2005 and was told he would not be allowed to return.
But the cleric’s son Mohammad Bakri told Sky News: “I’m here on the humanitarian basis. At the end of the day, many people find what he says distasteful, and he quotes things from the Islamic perspective. But I think unless you know the character, himself, like my father – I grew up with him – so therefore I understand the tactics that he uses to attract the media in order to pass the message of Islam.
“You may find that distasteful, but at the end of the day he has not committed any crimes in the UK.”
Meanwhile, Omar Bakri’s student Anjem Choudary laid the blame for his predicament in a series of tweets on Lebanon’s “Shia government.”
He said: “Shia in Lebanon are beating up Sheikh Omar Bakri in prison because he opposes the Iranian regime, Bashar Al Assad & Hizbollah mass murderers… May Allah curse the kufaar.”
Bakri was among 54 people sentenced in Lebanon in November 2010 in trials of militants who fought deadly clashes with the Lebanese army in 2007. He was convicted of belonging to an armed group that aimed to carry out terrorist acts and plots to kill Lebanese soldiers.