chapter  8
21 Pages

‘I don’t believe in integration’

Shortly after the Al Qaeda attacks of 11 September 2001, Britain began to face the challenge of confronting radical and extremist movements. Reaching its pinnacle with four coordinated suicide bombings on 7 July 2005, tensions between ‘Islam’ and ‘the West’ developed into a protracted and heated debate about the role of Islam in politics and society in the West. In September 2005, tensions increased further with the publication in several European newspapers of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed. By this time, however, some of the faces of radical Islam were already public names in Britain. Among the most prominent were the former Imam of London’s Finsbury Park Mosque, Egyptian-born Abu Hamza al-Masri, Jordanian Abu Qatada and Syrian-born Omar Bakri Mohammed. For many in Britain, these three individuals in particular came to represent the public face of Al Qaeda.