Posted 1:45 p.m. Sept. 26
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – The Islamic extremist group Al-Muhajiroun took its message to the streets in one of England’s largest student centers during freshman orientation week in an effort to recruit followers and argue a message with sexist, racist and homophobic connotations.
The group, who has been banned from British University campuses by the National Union of Students (NUS), manned a station on a public street on Manchester’s Oxford Road and attracted crowds with loud rhetoric and graphic pictures.
“I think that these people should be ashamed to be preaching such hate,” said first-year student Neil Parks. “I know that this is only one faction of the religion, but it is still upsetting in the wake of New York City.”
Parks was not alone, as many students passing the display became engaged in heated arguments over the group’s radical doctrine.
“Al-Muhajiroun incite hatred and NUS will not tolerate extremist views and the intimidation of students,” said NUS President Brooks David in a radio address. “NUS is working closely with students’ unions around the country to ensure that students can continue to study and socialize in a safe and welcoming environment, free from incitement, hatred and fear.”
David added, however, that the recent events in the United States had
nothing to do with the NUS decision to ban the group.
Al-Muhajiroun reportedly has been targeting students as young as 16 to join the movement and train in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The group claims to have over 7,000 followers in the United Kingdom.
Within days of the attacks on the United States, the group had set up a
stall outside the Queen Mary College at the University of London.
Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed, Al-Muhajiroun’s leader, praised the terrorist attacks against the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington. He is reportedly an associate of Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rhaman, arrested after the first World Trade Center bombing.
The organization is dedicated to establishing an Islamic state in Britain,
and literature on its Web site says “the final hour will not come until the
Muslims conquer the White House.”
The Education Guardian reported that in January a young British suicide
bomber who was associated with Al-Muhajiroun blew up an Indian army
The group claims that five students left the University of Manchester in the last year to join the “fight for Islam.”
While speaking to a small crowd of passersby, Munzer Butt, an Al-Muhajiroun member, called the terrorist attacks on New York “justified” saying that those killed were “casualties of war.”
“The United States has declared war on Islam,” he said.
Police were called to the scene, but no arrests were made.
It is suspected that several of the hijackers who carried out the attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center on Sept. 11 were recruited by organizations like the Al-Muhajiroun which recruits from universities across Britain including London, Leeds, Birmingham and Manchester.
Though the group is said to have a small “core” membership of only a few hundred, the police and MI5, the domestic intelligence service of the U.K., are monitoring the Al-Muhajiroun.