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Just in case Abu Qatada is feeling especially embattled after creating another media storm this week, he may be happy to know that his pals in al-Qaeda have not forgotten about him. Al-Qaeda central and two of its franchises – in Somalia and Iraq – have posted their support for him internet forums in recent days, and threatened the British government in the process.
Al-Qaeda central warned the government about its treatment of the cleric – threatening to ‘open the door of evil on [the UK] and its citizens’. They also said that:
It was the duty of the British government, if it couldn’t bear to hear words of truth being expressed, to allow the Shaykh to freely depart to the destination he likes and approves of. But to have him languish behind bars all these years and prevent him from exercising his right to write, express, lecture and teach, and then end these violations by preparing to deport him to a country whose criminality is known to everyone; this is something totally unacceptable and will not pass without punishment.
Al-Shabaab in Somalia stated that:
The Sheikh, though not charged with anything, has been imprisoned and subjected to punitive control orders for simply exercising his freedom of speech by a government that hypocritically denunciates other nations for restricting freedom of speech whilst itself violating the very values it claims to promote.
They go on to tell the British government to allow Abu Qatada to relocate to a destination of his preference.
Similar statements are made by the Islamic State of Iraq:
We warn the British government from the consequences of what it is embarking…the case of the imprisoned sheikh concerns us as it concerns every Muslim who is ardent to his religion and brothers, so let them feel their footholds properly in this issue, and think thoroughly before embarking to it, and the statements of the media about taking vows from their lackeys in Amman won’t benefit them, because we experienced the crimes of those traitors and saw their wantonness and lying, and the British government and its subjects are the ones who will bear responsibility of the final outcome of this provocative action.
It is also worth noting that al-Qaeda central state that ‘Abu Qatada has no connection organizationally with Al-Qaida’t Al-Jihad or other groups’.
For more on Abu Qatada, see my opinion piece in today’s Wall Street Journal.