'Michael is a hero. He didn't flee..': Hate preacher's rant that will fuel Prime Minster's crackdown on extremist teachings

Extremist cleric Omar Bakri yesterday described the Woolwich terrorist he inspired as a ‘hero’ and praised him for remaining  at the murder scene.

Bakri, who is banned from Britain because of his extremist activities, including alleged links to Al Qaeda, met Michael Adebolajo on numerous occasions throughout 2004.

The 28-year-old was filmed with blood on his hands, ranting at passers-by, as he waited to confront police after Lee Rigby was hacked to death.

Muslim cleric Omar Bakri has been banned for the UK

Hate preacher: Muslim cleric Omar Bakri has been banned for the UK

‘He was not a coward, he did not flee the scene,’ said Bakri, who repeatedly refused to condemn the slaughter. 

To many people, Bakri’s comments will demonstrate why police should monitor comments by radical clerics and why search engines such as Google should do more to shut down extremist websites.

Bakri founded the now banned Islamist group Al-Muhajiroun, with which Adebolajo is believed to have been associated.

Now living in Lebanon, his leave to remain in Britain was revoked after the 7/7 London attacks, which he said the British people brought on themselves.

Islamist preacher Omar Bakri is pictured giving an interview today at his home in Tripoli, northern Lebanon in which he praised Michael Adebolajo
Michael Adebolajo

Support:  Islamist preacher Omar Bakri, left, praised Lee Rigby's killer Michael Adebolajo, right, from exile in Lebanon, calling him 'a hero'

In a telephone interview, Bakri described Adebolajo as a ‘very quiet, very shy man’ and recalled meeting him when he preached in London. ‘He asked me basic questions about Islam,’ he said.

‘He was also asking me questions about racism. I think the racism of British society turned him towards Islam.

‘He will only be judged by God. If he dies, then he will become  a martyr. He did not target civilians, it was a military target. The British soldier also died  for his beliefs. The military is involved in killing Muslims around the world.

Victim: Lee Rigby, 25, was yesterday named as the victim of the Woolwich knife attack

Victim: Lee Rigby, 25, was killed in the Woolwich knife attack on Wednesday

A man contemplates at a scene where flowers lay

Tears: A man puts down flowers at the scene where Lee Rigby died in Woolwich

'To many Muslims around the world, he [Adebolajo] is a hero, because  he was fighting back. Lots of Muslims in the UK will condemn what he said, but there are many who will believe it is justified.

‘It will make the British Government sit up and think about withdrawing their troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.

‘It is not for me to condemn what he has done – I can’t say what he has done is forbidden.’

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