Sheikh Omar Bakri Muhammad is the leader of one of the most controversial Islamist groups in the U.K., Al Muhajiroun (which means "the emigrants" in Arabic). He attracted global media scrutiny on the first anniversary of 9/11 by staging a meeting entitled "A Towering Day in History," and unveiled a poster that depicted the second airplane advancing toward the World Trade Center.
This month in Britain, Scotland Yard officials said they were investigating Sheikh Omar on suspicion of his support for "global jihad," including inciting Muslim youth to join the insurgency in Iraq. Omar, a Syrian, resides in Britain, which granted him political asylum years ago.
Omar is not a stranger to Britain's Christian community. In 1999, apologist Jay Smith of Hyde Park Christian Fellowship debated Sheikh Omar and called on him to "condemn any form of religious violence, whenever and wherever it is perpetrated in the name of God." Though differing with Smith on many issues, Omar nonetheless deeply respects him.
Christianity Today thought readers would want to better understand Omar's radical views on jihad and on his take on the Christian faith. Anthony McRoy, a London-based scholar of Islam, and a religion journalist, recently interviewed Omar Bakri Muhammad. Naturally, we don't defend Omar's views, but only present them to help Christians better understand Omar's brand of Islam, which is so prevalent in the world today.
Since the time Sheikh Omar granted this interview, he has issued a statement officially dissolving Al Muhajiroun. A later report in the Muslim Weekly, emanating from the Luton Council of Mosques (which opposes him), suggested that plans are afoot to re-brand the group as Ahl us-Sunnah wal Jamaah. Other British Muslim groups, ...1