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Abu Qatada

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Abû-Qatâda al-Filisṭînî (Arabic: أبو قتادة الفلسطيني), sometimes called Abû-Omar (ابو عمر) is an Islamist militant. Under the name Omar Mahmoud Othman (عمر محمود عثمان), he is under worldwide embargo by the United Nations Security Council Committee 1267[1] for his affiliation with al-Qaeda. He is wanted on terrorism charges in Algeria[2], the United States, Belgium, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, and his native Jordan[3].

After the liberation of Kuwait from Iraq (which Abu Qatada opposed) he was expelled from Kuwait to Jordan. From there he travelled to the UK in 1993 on a forged UAE passport, and requested asylum on grounds of religious persecution. He was granted asylum the following year. He has been in British custody since his most recent arrest, in August 2005, shortly after the July 2005 London bombings. A British court ruled on February 26, 2007 that he may be deported to Jordan[4]. Qatada won the appeal against deportation in April 2008 under the British Human Rights Act 1998 and European Convention on Human Rights despite suspected continued terrorist involvement, but remained in prison. On 8 May 2008 he was granted bail by the Special Immigration Appeals Commission with security provided by former terrorist hostage Norman Kember who Qatada had requested the release of before his rescue by the SAS in 2006. In November 2008 Qatada was rearrested for breaking his bail conditions. His bail was revoked and he was sent back to prison pending his deportation from the United Kingdom[5].

Abu Qatada is a Jordanian national, having been born in Bethlehem in 1960[6], at which time the West Bank was part of Jordan. Al-Filistini means the Palestinian.

Writings and speeches

One of Abu Qatada's books, Islamic Movements and Contemporary Alliances, argues essentially for no affiliation whatsoever between Muslim and non-Muslim countries.

He wrote regularly for the al-Ansar magazine in the early 90s which was the official mouthpiece of the Armed Islamic Group (GIA).[7] His writings and speeches have been critically assessed by a contemporary Muslim scholar Shaykh Abdul-Malik ar-Ramadani al-Jaza'iri in his book Takhlis al-Ibaad min Wahshiyyat Abi'l-Qataad [Liberating the Servants from the Father of Thorns], Jeddah: Makatabah al-Asaalah al-Athariyyah, 1422 AH,[8]

Terrorist activities, affiliations, and influence

Abu Qatada has been described by Jamal al-Fadl, in his testimony in the Southern District Court of New York on February 6, 2001, as a member of al-Qaeda’s "Fatwa Committee". According to the indictment of the Madrid al-Qaeda cell, Abu Qatada was the spiritual leader of al-Qaeda in Europe, and the spiritual leader of the Armed Islamic Group (GIA), the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), and the Tunisian Combat Group.[9]

The Middle East Media Research Institute claimed that, in 1997, Abu Qatada called upon Muslims to kill the wives and children of Egyptian police and army officers.[10]

Abu Qatada is reported by the British press[11][12] to have been a preacher or advisor to al-Qaeda terrorists Zacarias Moussaoui and Richard Reid.

When questioned in the UK in February 2001, Abu Qatada was in possession of £170,000 cash, including £805 in an envelope labelled "For the Mujahedin in Chechnya".[11]

Nineteen audio cassettes of Abu Qatada's sermons were found in the apartment of Mohamed Atta when it was searched after the September 11, 2001 attacks, which Atta led[13].

Legal status

In early 2004, an immigration appeals committee, convened to decide whether Abu Qatada should be allowed at large at that time, ruled in part, "The appellant was heavily involved, indeed was at the centre in the United Kingdom of terrorist activities associated with al-Qaeda" and remarked also on "his passionate exposition of jihad and the spread of Islam to take over the world."[14] But soon thereafter, the Law Lords struck down the basis on which he was being held, and he was again released.[15]

Jordan sentenced Abu Qatada in absentia in 2000 to life imprisonment[6] for his involvement in a plot to bomb tourists who would be in Jordan to attend the Millennium celebrations.

He was granted bail by an immigration tribunal on May 8 2008, it was reported that he was subjected to a 22-hour home curfew and other restrictions.

In November 2008 he was rearrested at his home after breaking his bail conditions. A Special Immigration Appeals Commission revoked his bail, stating he posed a significant risk of absconding and returned him to prison pending his possible deportation[5][16]

In February 2009, Law lords ruled that Qatada could be deported to Jordan.[17][18] In the same month, Qatada was awarded £2,500 by the European Court of Human Rights in a lawsuit he filed against the UK, after judges ruled that his detention without trial in the UK breached his human rights.[19]

Offer to help negotiate the release of BBC journalist Alan Johnston

BBC journalist Alan Johnston was kidnapped in Gaza by Muslim extremists on March 13, 2007.[20][21][22] Johnston's captors, the infamous Doghmush clan who headed the Army of Islam (Gaza Strip),a terrorist group, demanded the release of dozens of captives, including Abu Qatada.

Abu Qatada offered to help negotiate Johnston's release.[20][21][22]


  1. UN list of affiliates of al-Qaeda and the Taliban
  2. Statement from the Algerian government to the United Nations Security Council Committee 1267, English translation by Nuclear Threat Initiative
  3. Britain's most wanted (meaning Abu Qatada, who was missing at the time), The Observer, 12 May 2002
  4. Court rules that Abu Qatada can be deported, Home Office, 26 February 2007
  5. 5.0 5.1 Judges send Qatada back to jail, BBC News, 2 December 2008
  6. 6.0 6.1 The Challenge of Terrorism and Religious Extremism in Jordan, Center for Contemporary Conflict, United States Navy
  7. "The Savage Barbarism of Abu Qatadah" (PDF). 
  8. The Savage Barbarism of Abu Qatada
  9. The Global Jihadist Movement, Rand Corporation p. 27
  10. Radical Islamist Profiles (1): London -- Abu Hamza Al-Masri, MEMRI, 16 October 2001
  11. 11.0 11.1 Profile: Abu Qatada, BBC, 26 February 2007. (May be updated.)
  12. Move to expel 'al-Qaeda cleric' will test Britain's resolve on law, Times Online, 11 August 2005
  13. The Recruiters: Interview with Abu Qatada, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, 16 March 2004
  14. 'Qatada's key UK al-Qaeda role', BBC, 23 March 2004
  15. British Plan to Deport 10 Foreigners, Fox News, 11 August 2005
  16. John F. Burns (2008-12-02). "Islamic Cleric Jailed Again in Britain". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-12-04.  mirror
  17. Sky News - Radical Cleric Can Be Deported From UK
  18. BBC News - Law Lords back Qatada deportation
  19. Percival, Jenny (February 19, 2009). "Abu Qatada gets £2,500 compensation for breach of human rights". The Guardian. 
  20. 20.0 20.1 Vikram Dodd (May 18, 2007). "Radical cleric offers to appeal for kidnapped BBC journalist". The Guardian.,,2082717,00.html. Retrieved 2007-05-26. 
  21. 21.0 21.1 "Cleric contacted over Johnston plea". Daily Express. May 17, 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-26. 
  22. 22.0 22.1 Tariq Panja (May 18, 2007). "Talks to free BBC hostage continue". Buffalo Evening News. Retrieved 2007-05-26. 
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Abu Qatada. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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