|“||Therefore, we will one day liberate our land from occupation and implement the Shariah not just in Muslim countries but also right here in Great Britain. This is something that we believe in, live by and hope that in our lifetime we will witness.||„|
|~ Anjem Choudary|
Al-Muhajiroun is a Radical Islamist group founded by Omar Bakri Mohammed in Saudi Arabia in 1983. It is currently based in the UK following its expulsion from Saudi Arabia.
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.
Members have carried out numerous murders and terrorist attacks. Their general worldview; with a heavy focus on a pan-Islamist-orientated worldwide caliphate is derived directly from its parent organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir (founded by Taqiuddin al-Nabhani) as espoused by Omar Bakri Muhammad. The organisation is commonly described as Islamist and is sometimes classified as Salafist, however, some Salafists (who follow the line of Rabee al-Madkhali and other Salafists mainstream in the Arab Gulf states), consider Al-Muhajiroun and other modern "jihadist" groups which focus on politically motivated terrorism (particularly indiscriminate attacks against civilians) as modern day Kharajites, whose ideological line derives ultimately from the Muslim Brotherhood and Sayyid Qutb (supposedly influenced by non-Islamic "Leninist" ideas, these individuals, in their view "appropriated" the Salafi name for means of credibility within Islamic circles), rather than Ibn Taymiyyah.
Al-Muhajiroun was founded by Omar Bakri Muhammed on 3rd March 1983 in Saudi Arabia as a front for Hizb ut-Tahrir, which had been banned in Saudi Arabia. However, Al-Muhajiroun was banned for links to Hizb ut-Tahrir in January 1986, and Bakri Muhammed fled to the UK shortly after. While in the UK, he was declared a liability and expelled from Hizb ut-Tahrir in 1966, and subsequently reformed Al-Muhajiroun, with radical cleric Anjem Choudary as his deputy.
From the beginning of its existence in the UK, Al-Muhajiroun courted controversy, as it began holding protests in favour of Sharia Law and against homosexuality, as well as openly collecting money for groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah. Despite this and alleged connections to Abu Hamza al-Masri, they were not made initially declared an illegal organisation, as they had not actually broken any specific laws, with one member being elected to a government position.
This all changed in September 1998 after seven members of one of the groups Al-Muhajiroun collected money for were arrested for terrorism, resulting in a protest by Al-Muhajiroun against their incarceration. This was followed by Bakri Muhammed repeatedly claiming that various Islamic terrorists were students of his and members of Al-Muhajiroun. Al-Muhajiroun spokesman Abdul Rahman Saleem later called for the killing of UK Prime Minister Tony Blair when he sent troops to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan, placing Al-Muhajiroun under further scrutiny. Various terrorists such as Richard Reid and Zacarias Moussaoui were later confirmed to be members of the group. Al-Muhajiroun later held a conference along with al-Masri celebrating the September 11 attacks.
In early 2002, six suspects were arrested in connection with an alleged bioterrorist plot in Wood Green. Soon after, suspect Kamel Bourgass, who was a member of Al-Muhajiroun, was arrested after fatally stabbing DI Stephen Oake, and later convicted of murder and terrorism. Al-Muhajiroun leader Sajeel Shahid was later exposed as a terrorist after setting up a safehouse for militants in Pakistan, and assisting other terrorists to escape from the UK. Things came to a head in 2004, when Omar Khyam and several others were arrested for terrorism offences. Following these incidents, the UK government decided to proscribe (outlaw) Al-Muhajiroun, which disbanded to avoid this fate. It soon returned under the names "Al Ghurabaa" and "The Saved Sect", both of which were proscribed following the 7 July 2005 London bombings.
In 2009, it reformed under Choudary's leadership with the name "Islam4UK". One of Islam4UK's first actions was to protest the return of soldiers from Afghanistan, resulting in the English Defence League being formed in response. In 2010, they gained widespread media attention when Choudary announced the Wootton Bassett march, a march commemorating the deaths of Muslims caused in the Iraq War through an area where public mourning for British soldiers killed in action fighting terrorists is held. The march was later cancelled after the police refused to allow permission, and Islam4UK, along with Muslims Against Crusades, Need4Khalifa, The Shariah Project, The Islamic Dawah association, Call to Submission, Islamic Path and The London School of Sharia were listed as aliases of Al Ghurabaa and proscribed, along with Al-Muhajiroun itself.