British Islamists organising the September 8 London Arena Extravaganza ‘Rally for Revival’ were forced to cancel the event in the face of mounting security costs. Instead, 800 people attended a ‘press conference’ at Hyde Park.
Al-Muhajiroun, a group which has broken away (complete with leader Omar Bakri) from Hizb ut-Tahrir, staged the event. The original publicised plan was to include video/audio/written messages from a wide range of Islamic militants, several of whom are currently serving prison sentences. Instead Omar Bakri Muhammad and Dr Muhammad Al-Mas’ari (a prominent Saudi dissident) promoted the idea of Khilafah, a centralised world-wide Muslim government.
Although supportive of known militant groups like Hamas and Hizbollah, the speakers advocated ‘mass action’ through ‘intellectual struggle’ rather than terrorism.
‘Islam must dominate the world’ was the closing declaration statement. Next year’s event, the fourth annual London meeting of its kind, is titled ‘Rally for Conquest’.
Although extreme groups like Al-Muhajiroun cannot operate legally in many Muslim countries, Muslims can come to the UK to train in radical Islam. The group calls London ‘the capital of world-wide Islamic movements’.
Hizb ut-Tahrir has been banned on University campuses here by the National Union of Students; but Omar Bakri is adamant that the same thing should not happen to the new organisation. He informed the Guardian newspaper (August 24, 1996) that it plans to use a variety of non-religious names in order to avoid exclusion.
Al-Muhajiroun is targetting Oxford, Cambridge and Durham universities and a number of London campuses, including the School of Oriental and African Studies, University College and the London School of Economics.