Fundamentalist Muslim cleric arrested in Lebanon

Lebanese police have arrested Omar Bakri, the Islamic fundamentalist cleric who is being investigated in Britain for supporting the 7/7 bombers.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, refused to say when and where Bakri was arrested, but the local Future TV channel reported that Bakri was arrested Thursday afternoon as he left its building in the west Beirut district of Raouche after giving an interview.

The station said Bakri was told that the General Security department wants to question him about "information regarding his entry into Lebanon."

In London, a spokeswoman for the Foreign Office said there was no British connection to the detention as there was no warrant for Bakri's arrest. Britain's Home Office declined to say whether it had lodged an extradition request. However, such a move is considered unlikely as the government had been considering how to deport or bar Bakri from Britain.

Bakri is regarded as an Islamic extremist in Britain, where he has lived for 20 years. He left on Saturday and flew to Lebanon to see his mother.

"Enjoy your holiday - make it a long one," British Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott said Tuesday when asked about Bakri at a news conference.

Bakri told that he plans to return after six weeks, but he would not return if the government told him he would not be welcome.

"Good," Prescott said when told that.

The cleric founded the now-disbanded radical Islamic group al-Muhajiroun, which came under scrutiny in Britain, particularly after some of its members praised the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

Bakri caught public attention recently when he said he would not inform the police if he knew that Muslims were planning attacks such as the July 7 bombings in London that killed 56 people. He claimed that Islam prohibited him from reporting Muslims to the British police, the AP reports.

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