The case for Abu Qatada

Abu Qatada you could say is a bit like a bad smell, he just doesn’t seem to go away. I recall generally just ignoring any press coverage about him, because I just didn’t want to give this man or his story the time of day. But recently after doing some research on Qatada, I’ve come to the conclusion that his story is the most slandered and misinformed story that the media has churned out.

Abu Qatada – (real name Omar Othman) won his appeal against his deportation to Jordan where he had been convicted on terror charges (not whilst he was actually present in court) based on evidence obtained by torture. The judge here believes Abu Qatada will not receive a fair trial in Jordan and his basic human rights will be violated. Instead of deporting him to Jordan he has been released on incredible bail conditions which include a curfew (4pm-8am), prohibition of using a car or public transport and prohibition of using a mobile phone, computer and internet. One paper had a picture of him getting into a car with the headline along the lines of ‘Qatada with a smirk on his face’. I don’t think these bail conditions constitute a reason to celebrate. The main points to remember are that he has been detained without charge for the best part of 10 years – the longest anybody has been kept in prison without a trial in this country. He has not been charged or convicted for any crime here.

They refer to him as a radical Muslim cleric, he may be, but where is the evidence? They say he incites hatred towards Jews, and apostates. Where are the videos where he tells Muslims it’s ok to carry out terror attacks? Why can we not see them? Where is the evidence?

The Daily Telegraph reported that one of Abu Qatada’s videos were found in the home of one the 9/11 hijackers. Anders Breivik agreed with a lot of Melanie Phillips ideas and quoted from her articles. He actually murdered over 70 innocent people in cold blood. Can we deport Melanie Philips based on this? She often has racist and Islamaphobic views and the audience she reaches is vast as the publications she writes for have huge readerships. Does this not also constitute incitement?

Abu Qatada has been referred to as Osamas right hand man. The Spanish judge who referred to him as this has actually been discredited as a judge, but this has been overlooked by the media. The most extraordinary fact that I have come to learn about Qatada is that he appealed for the release of British hostage Norman Kember in 2005. Kember was so grateful for this that he provided bail security for Qatada back in 2008. Qatada also appealed for the release of Alan Johnston who was kidnapped by gunmen in Palestine in 2009.

If Abu Qatada is so dangerous, why don’t the Americans want him? If he really is such a huge threat to national security, the authorities would not let Osamas ‘right hand man’ alone. If they can kill Osama bin Laden on the spot without a judge, jury or trial why can they not touch Abu Qatada?

Abu Qatada has been treated appallingly since he was first detained back in October 2002. Just think back to 10 years ago 2002, think of all the things you have done and achieved since then. Now think about Abu Qatada who has been behind bars, without a trial without charge for all this time. He has children, he has a wife. Now just think, what if he is actually innocent? 

You and I may still not care about what happens to him, but remember this:

First they came for the communists, 
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the socialists,
 and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
 and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Muslims, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Muslim.
Then they came for me,
 and there was no one left to speak for me.

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