Al-Muhajiroun (Arabic: المهاجرون; The Emigrants) is a banned Salafi jihadi[1][2] terrorist organisation that was based in Britain and which has been linked to international terrorism, homophobia and antisemitism.[3] The group operated in the United Kingdom from 14 January 1986 until the British Government announced an intended ban in August 2005.[4] The group became notorious for its September 2002 conference, "The Magnificent 19", praising the September 11, 2001 attacks.[5] The group mutates periodically so as to evade the law; it then operates under aliases. It was proscribed under the UK Terrorism Act 2000 on 14 January 2010 together with four other organisations including Islam4UK,[6][7][8] and again in 2014 as "Need4Khilafah".

Al-Muhajiroun has also run a Lahore safe house for visiting British Muslims.[9] Michael Adebolajo, the man convicted of killing Lee Rigby in a terrorist attack in Woolwich, attended Al-Muhajiroun meetings and demonstrations.[10][11]


Al-Muhajiroun's proclaimed aims are to establish public awareness about Islam, to influence public opinion in favour of the sharia, to convince members of society that Islam is inherently political and a viable ideological alternative, to unite Muslims on a global scale in the threats facing the Ummah and to resume the Islamic way of life by re-establishing the Islamic Caliphate.[12]


In June 2009 the organisation officially re-launched itself in the United Kingdom, under the alias "Islam4UK".[13] However it was banned under the Terrorism Act 2000 in January 2010.[14] In January 2010, the group, operating as one of three aliases,[15] was banned by Labour Home Secretary Alan Johnston in connection with a planned protest march through Wootton Bassett:[16]

In June 2014, the UK government banned three more groups it suspected of being aliases for the extremist organisation al-Muhajiroun:[15]


Omar Bakri Muhammad and Anjem Choudary are known to have led Al-Muhajiroun.[17] Bakri founded Al-Muhajiroun in Mecca, Saudi Arabia on 3 March 1983 following "the 59th anniversary of the destruction of the Ottoman Caliphate," in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. According to at least one scholar (Sadek Hamid), the group was a front for Hizb ut-Tahrir in the Kingdom[18] (where political parties are illegal). According to Bakri, the Hizb ut-Tahrir leadership did not accept the group. As such, Bakri established Al-Muhajiroun independently from Hizb ut-Tahrir.[19]

Bakri claims[20] that he studied at the universities of Umm ul-Qura' in Makkah and The Islamic University of Madeenah. Bakri also studied with, and was assessed by, Dr. Abdur Rahman Dimishqia.[21] While living in Saudi Arabia he worked for Eastern Electric owned by Shamsan and Abdul-Aziz as-Suhaybi in Riyadh, and then Bakri moved to its Jeddah branch. Later he traveled to America to study English after which he went to the UK to assume the leadership of Hizb ut-Tahrir and became their leader.[21]

The Saudi Arabian government banned Al-Muhajiroun in January 1986, prompting Bakri to leave. On 14 January 1986, he arrived in Britain, where he worked as part of Hizb ut-Tahrir.[19] Bakri's involvement in Hizb ut-Tahrir ended on 16 January 1996 when he was dismissed by the group's global leadership. Following the emergence of Al-Muhajiroun in early 1996, Bakri would later become the chief sponsor in Britain of the International Islamic Front, an organization that trained and sent British Citizens to fight in Chechnya and the Balkans.

NUS ban

In March 2001 Britain's National Union of Students banned Al-Muhajiroun after they received complaints from Muslim and non-Muslim students about the group distributing hate literature and the organization training members in militant camps. Al-Muhajiroun members put up posters and handed out leaflets in Manchester University's campus where the police were called and at the University of Birmingham campus that called on the killing of Jews. A spokesman for NUS said that if Al-Muhajiroun did not support violence against Jews then they should change their "highly militant and definitely not peaceful" literature.[22]

Islamic Council of Britain

Abu Hamza al-Masri created the Islamic Council of Britain to "implement sharia law in Britain," on 11 September 2002, the first anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks, primarily through funding from Al-Muhajiroun. Masri celebrated the establishment of the ICB and the 9/11 attacks by holding a conference in Finsbury Park mosque in North London entitled "September the 11th 2001: A Towering Day in History." Bakri, who attended the conference, said, that attendees "look at September 11 like a battle, as a great achievement by the mujahideen against the evil superpower. I never praised September 11 after it happened but now I can see why they did it." Flyers distributed at the conference referred to the 9/11 hijackers as the "Magnificent 19." Bakri said he saw Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda terrorists as "sincere [and] devoted people who stood firm against the invasion of a Muslim country." Anjem Choudary, British spokesman for Al Muhajiroun also attended.[12] Just days after the 7 July 2005 London bombings the Oxford-based Malaysian jurist, Shaykh Muhammad Afifi al-Akiti, issued his landmark fatwa against suicide bombing and targeting innocent civilians, titled Defending the Transgressed, by Censuring the Reckless against the Killing of Civilians, which was written in response to this controversial "Magnificent 19" statement made by Al-Muhajiroun.[23]

2004 disbandment and after

Al Muhajiroun disbanded on 13 October 2004[24] to avoid proscription.[25] However, it was believed that The Saviour Sect was to all intents and purposes Al Muhajiroun operating under a new name. Shortly after the 7 July 2005 London bombings Tony Blair announced the group would be banned as part of a series of measures against condoning or glorifying terrorism.[24]

Home Secretary Charles Clarke banned Omar Bakri Muhammad from the United Kingdom on 12 August 2005 on the grounds that his presence was "not conducive to the public good."[26][27][12] Two other offshoot organisations, The Saviour Sect and Al-Ghurabaa had previously been banned for the 'glorification' of terrorism under the Terrorism Act 2006.[28]

2009 mutation as Islam4UK

The group was then relaunched in June 2009 under the alias "Islam4UK". That summer saw the formation of the reactionary English Defence League (EDL), which had held, in the space of two years, over 30 demonstrations and protests across the country.[29]

It was proscribed under the UK Terrorism Act 2000 on 14 January 2010 together with four other organisations including Islam4UK.[6][30][31]

2014 mutation as Need4Khilafah

In June 2014, the UK government banned three more groups it suspected of being aliases for the extremist organisation al-Muhajiroun:[15]



Aside from declaring the 9/11 bombers "the Magnificent 19", controversial statements made by al-Muhajiroun include one warning the British government that it was "sitting on a box of dynamite and have only themselves to blame if after attacking the Islamic movements and the Islamic scholars, it all blows up in their face".[17]

In 2004 BBC Newsnight quoted one Al-Muhajiroun leader, Abu Ibrahim, as saying,

When they speak about 11 September, when the two planes magnificently run through those buildings, OK and people turn around and say, 'hang on a second, that is barbaric. Why did you have to do that?' You know why? Because of ignorance. ... For us it's retaliation. Islam is not the starter of wars. If you start the war we won't turn the other cheek. ... According to you it can't be right. According to Islam it's right. When you talk about innocent civilians, do you not kill innocent civilians in Iraq?[32]


On 29 April 2003, Asif Hanif who attended some of Al-Muhajiroun's circles carried out a bombing of a café in Tel Aviv, Israel, that killed three people and injured 60 others.[33][34] In 2006 another individual connected with Al-Muhajiroun allegedly detonated a bomb in India, killing himself and destroying an army barracks.[12]

In 2007, five young Muslims with Al-Muhajiroun connections – Omar Khyam, Waheed Mahmood, Anthony Garcia, Jawad Akbar and Saladhuddin Amin – were convicted of a multiple bombing plot to use fertiliser bombs "which police say could have killed hundreds of British people. The men were caught after police and MI5 launched a massive surveillance operation."[35] The surveillance culminated in a raid called Operation Crevice. The targets included "the Bluewater shopping centre in Kent, the Ministry of Sound nightclub in London and Britain's domestic gas network." According to Professor Anthony Glees, director of the Brunel Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies:

The fertiliser bomb trial has given us the smoking-gun evidence that groups like al-Muhajiroun have had an important part in radicalising young British Muslims, and that this can create terrorists.[33]

See also


  1. Washington Times: "HUSAIN: Anti-Shia Muslim terrorists convicted in London" May 14, 2014 |"Members of the Salafi-Wahhabi Islamist terrorist group Al Muhajiran were convicted this week of attacking Shia Muslims in London in 2013"
  2. Nawaz, Maajid (July 30, 2014). Radical: My Journey out of Islamist Extremism. Lyons Press. p. 81.
  3. mirror
  4. Radical terror cleric Omar Bakri tries to flee Lebanon| Jeremy Reynalds| Pipeline News| July 24, 2006
  5. Blogging the Qur’an: Suras 72, “The Jinn,” 73, “The Mantled One,” 74, “The Cloaked One,” 75, “Resurrection,” and 76, “Man” (JihadWatch)
  6. 1 2 "Government to ban Islam4UK under terror laws". The BBC. 12 January 2010. Retrieved 12 January 2010.
  7. Casciani, Dominic (5 January 2010). "Profile: Islam4UK". BBC News. Retrieved 12 January 2010.
  8. The Proscribed Organisations (Name Changes) Order 2010 | |2010
  9. Nick Fielding (24 July 2005). "Terror links of the Tottenham Ayatollah: Nick Fielding reveals the influence of a preacher once seen as a mere loudmouth". London: The Sunday Times. Archived from the original on 24 October 2010. Retrieved 24 October 2010. More worrying is the number of ALM members associated with violence abroad. One journalist who visited an ALM safe house in Lahore before the authorities closed it said that recruits from Britain referred to Indians as "subhumans" and were violently opposed to homosexuals and Jews.
  10. "Woolwich murder: Government defends security services". BBC News. 24 May 2013.
  11. Urquhart, Conal; Dodd, Vikram (25 May 2013). "Woolwich suspect's friend arrested after appearing on Newsnight". The Guardian. London.
  12. 1 2 3 4 Islamists Down Under| Assyrian International News Agency| 2006-04-24
  13. Booth, Robert (18 June 2009). "Islamist Al-Muhajiroun relaunch ends in chaos over segregation attempt". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 23 April 2010.
  14. "Islam4UK banned under terror laws". BBC News. 12 January 2010. Retrieved 23 April 2010.
  15. 1 2 3 "Ministers ban suspected aliases of banned extremist group", BBC, 26 Jun 2014
  16. "Islam4UK Islamist group banned under terror laws", BBC, 12 Jan 2010
  17. 1 2 Police raid Islamic group| BBC News |30 July 2003 |accessed 2 March 2016
  18. Hamid, Sadek (2007). "Islamic Political Radicalism in Britain: the case of Hizb-ut-Tahrir". In Tahir Abbas. Islamic Political Radicalism: A European Perspective. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. p. 148. ISBN 0-74863-086-4.
  19. 1 2 Al-Muhajiroun in the UK: An Interview with Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed| By: Mahan Abedin| Spotlight on Terror| V.2 Issue 5| May 25, 2005 | The Jamestown Foundation |access date 2 March 2016
  20. Essential Fiqh, Bakri (London: The Islamic Book Company, 1996), p. 3
  21. 1 2 Hizb ut-Tahreer, Dr. AbdurRahman Dimishqia, (Istanbul: Maktabah ul-Ghurabaa', 1417 AH/1997 CE)
  22. UK Islamic Group, Banned from Campus, Claims Misrepresentation| CNS News| Mike Wendling | September 21, 2001
  23. Defending the Transgressed (2005), p. 17.
  24. 1 2 Muslims in police will rise up, Bakri insists The Daily Telegraph
  25. Raymond, Catherine Zara (May 2010). Al Muhajiroun and Islam4UK: The group behind the ban (PDF). International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence (ICSR). p. 6. Retrieved 2 March 2016.
  26. Extremist Islamist groups to be banned under new terror laws Guardian Online | 2010 january 11
  27. 'Preacher of hate' is banned from Britain Times Online
  28. Archived from the original on 18 January 2010. Retrieved 14 June 2013. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  29. Lowles, Nick (5 February 2011). "The EDL marches in Luton today. Hold your breath". The Guardian. London.
  30. Casciani, Dominic (5 January 2010). "Profile: Islam4UK". BBC News. Retrieved 12 January 2010.
  32. "Al-Muhajiroun". BBC News. 29 April 2004. Archived from the original on 23 January 2009. Retrieved 24 October 2010. Look to capitalism, it has only existed for 75 years and it's crumbling already. Communism is finished. The only other ideological belief around now, not a religion, Islam is not a religion. Let's make it clear. It's a political ideological belief.
  33. 1 2 The network.... With a worldwide influence and a radicalised following, is al-Muhajiroun waiting to strike again? Jamie Doward and Andrew Wander report. 6 May 2007
  34. New poll shows worry over Islamic terror threat, to be detailed in special FNC Report Fox News
  35. Fertiliser bomb plot: The story. By Chris Summers and Dominic Casciani. 30 April 2007

Further reading

External links

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