Wednesday 2 July 2008, by The Muslim Weekly
The radical Abu Qatada has variously been described as a «truly dangerous individual» and a «key UK figure» in al-Qaida-related activity by those in anti-terrorist circles who have studied his work and words. Qatada, who was released from prison last night on strict bail conditions including a 22-hour curfew, became one of the UK’s most wanted men in December 2001, when he went on the run on the eve of government moves to introduce new anti-terror laws allowing suspects to be detained without charge or trial.
The 45-year-old father of five arrived in the UK in September 1993 on a forged United Arab Emirates passport. He was allowed to stay in June 1994 after claiming asylum for himself and his family. Qatada, also known as Omar Mahmoud Mohammed Othman, was said to have met with an MI5 officer and offered to cooperate to help prevent Islamist terrorism in the UK.
But videos of his sermons were unearthed in a Hamburg flat used by some of those responsible for the September 11 attacks on the US. He is also believed to have been asked for religious advice by the would-be shoe bomber, Richard Reid, and Zacarias Moussaoui, who pleaded guilty in a US court to training for a «broader conspiracy» than 9/11 to use aircraft as weapons.
June, 20-26, 2008