The deportation of radical hate preacher Abu Qatada to Jordan has left the UK a safer place but should not lead to a false sense of security, defence analysts at the Henry Jackson Society have warned.
Before his arrest in London in October 2002, Abu Qatada was the most prominent jihadist idealogue in the UK. His deportation, together with the extradition of his student Abu Hamza in October last year, has rid the U.K of it’s two most influential and dangerous jihadist idealogues.
The HJS has consistently called for Abu Qatada to be returned to his home country, where he faces charges of terrorism and has been convicted in his absence. The preacher came to Britain illegally and the battle to extradite him has so far cost the British taxpayer more than £1.7 million.
However experts from the HJS have warned Abu Qatada could pose a continued threat to international security if he is still able to preach hate and recruit extremists from Jordan, and called for him to stand trial as soon as possible.
HJS Associate Director Douglas Murray said: “Abu Qatada’s deportation is overdue, and his removal from the UK is to be welcomed.
“But it must be stressed that Abu Qatada has the capacity to be a threat from whichever country he is based. He is an ideologue who will continue to influence jihadists if he is given the means, whether that is via the Internet or simply on his mobile phone.
“In the interests of global security, the next step must be for him to face justice and stand trial in Jordan.”
Abu Qatada is being investigated by Scotland Yard over suspected extremist material found in his home, and is suspected of indoctrinating British terrorists.
Eighteen video recordings of Abu Qatada’s talks were discovered in the Hamburg flats of Muhammad Atta, the leader of the 9/11 attacks and when Abu Qatada was arrested in February 2001, police discovered £170,000 in cash in his home, including £805 in an envelope labelled “For the Mujahedin in Chechnya”.