Call for UK to act over Al Jazeera’s ‘platform’ for terror group

Call for UK to act over Al Jazeera’s ‘platform’ for terror group
The British government has been urged to launch an investigation into allegations Al Jazeera has given a platform to support a terrorist group. (File photo AFP)
Updated 15 July 2018

Call for UK to act over Al Jazeera’s ‘platform’ for terror group

Call for UK to act over Al Jazeera’s ‘platform’ for terror group

LONDON: The British government has been urged to launch an investigation into allegations Al Jazeera has given a “platform” to an extremist group linked to some of the UK’s bloodiest terror attacks.
The Qatar-owned broadcaster has featured members of the outlawed Al-Muhajiroun group on its Arabic channel on numerous occassions, prompting calls for action by the UK authorities.
While the clips are historic, the fact that they are still available online makes Al Jazeera “a vehicle for inciting terrorism,” said Ghanem Nuseibeh, founder of Cornerstone Global, a management consultancy focused on the Middle East.
Al-Muhajiroun was formed in 1983 by hate preacher Omar Bakri, who is currently in prison in Lebanon for terror offenses. It was banned in the UK in 2010 but has carried on under a number of guises.
The perpetrators of the 2013 murder of British soldier Lee Rigby were linked to Al-Muhajiroun, as was at least one of the extremists involved in the June 2017 terror attack at London Bridge, in which eight people were killed and 48 injured.
Bakri had been a guest on historic Al Jazeera programs, and in one clip dismissed Britain’s non-Islamic laws, claiming they “do not concern us,” and defended his group.
Nuseibeh said that, because such clips are still accessible on Al Jazeera’s website, the broadcaster should be held to account.
“Anyone looking for material about Al-Muhajiroun can find this now,” he told Arab News.
“This is a clear breach of British laws and the fact that Al Jazeera continues to host those (clips) on its website, which is accessible in Britain, makes Al Jazeera a vehicle for inciting terrorism.
“The UK government is strongly encouraged to investigate why Al Jazeera continues to host interviews with this group and impose appropriate penalties.”
Nuseibeh said that Al Jazeera had featured members of the Al-Muhajiroun terror group on “many occasions,” allowing members to defend the terror group and openly criticizing the UK’s move to proscribe it. The Qatari broadcaster should be investigated by authorities, he added.
“It cannot be ruled out that Al Jazeera has contributed to recruiting members for the group in Britain, particularly among Arabic speakers, and therefore (has a) role in inciting terrorists.”
“Why hasn’t the UK banned Al Jazeera yet?” Nuseibeh tweeted earlier on Saturday. “Clearly (the UK government) should do more and take those pages down.”
Al Jazeera did not immediately respond to a request for comment when contacted by Arab News.