Anorak News | Bakri & Forth

Bakri & Forth

by | 15th, August 2005

‘THE week read like the Diary of Omar Barki. The Tottenham Taliban was in Lebanon seeing his mum/raising an army/going on the lash with the lads.

But before he could make the trip, on Monday the Telegraph said that officers at Scotland Yard were meeting the head of the anti-terrorism department at the Crown Prosecution Service, the body broadly responsible for deciding which criminal cases reach court, to discuss which charges could be brought against Bakri and his ilk.

Hey, he might even be charged with treason. But having dangled the rope, the paper thought its readers should know that Bakri was more likely to be deported than offed – the death penalty for treason was abolished in 1998, the Telegraph reminded us all.

But on Tuesday Bakri could take no more. And it wasn’t the threat of being charged with some crime under some new law that made him leave – it was the Sun.

The paper’s front page cheered that “hate” sheik Omar Bakri, aka the mad mullah, had fled the country “after being forced out of Britain by the Sun”.

In the paper’s editorial, readers learnt that the Sun had been pressing for Bakri to leave these shores for years. “It’s a great victory for us,” it said.

Liberal Democrat spokesman Simon Hughes told the Mail, “I guess the blunt public reaction will be ‘thank goodness for that’.”

But others may just miss the man a little. And that includes the Sun, which will have to find a new face of Muslim extremism to entertain and scare its readers with.

“But remember this,” it wrote, “Bakri was just one of the extremist lunatics in our midst.” There are “many more”.

But never fear, the Sun was and is on their case, and the nasties best bet is to run less they be monstered and then shot to pieces by busty Becky from Bridlington.

Hurrah! Ring the church bells. Barki was gone. Only, on Wednesday he was back. Not in Heathrow, but in the papers.

The Sun was learning the lesson that no war is over until the fat lady, or, as was the case, the fat man with the beard and NHS specs has signed an official truce, or been shot. Bakri planned to return in around four weeks.

But the Sun was not keen to see Bakri land in Blighty and wanted him to stay out. So the paper called on its “army” of readers to demand that stand-in Prime Minister John Prescott keep Bakri “OUT” of Britain.

To stir a million and more white van drivers, cabbies and topless stunnas into action, the paper produced a petition for each of us to sign and send to its London offices.

“Dear Mr Prescott,” it wrote. “Now that you are in charge of the country, we demand that you take action to keep vile preacher Omar Bakri out of Britain. He is not wanted here.”

Acting Prime Minister Prescott heard the call. Leading with his left, he said that Bakri “has a right to come in and out”. Said Mr Prezza: “I just say, ‘Enjoy your holiday. Make it a long one’.”

That was it! The war on terror would be won by sarcasm.

But while Prezza gibbered, the Mail asked: “Will preacher of hate return.” Of course, with the Sun’s petition in its infancy, it was too early to say. But being a paper with a proud tradition of investigative reporting, the Mail should at least have tried to answer its own poser.

And on Thursday, the Mail did have an answer. Yes, Bakri would be back – the charmless prig would be returning for an NHS operation. Ironic as it was, Bakri was coming back for the good of his health.

To the Star this produced the front-page headline: “FREE HEART OPS FOR EVERY RANTING LOON.” And it heard from the man himself, who told the paper’s shocked and stunned readers: “I have a heart problem. I’m waiting for an appointment.”

But didn’t Bakri know that the Sun was on his case? He must have, and – shock of shocks – he didn’t seem to care.

In a matter of days the Sun’s power had been reduced from that of a telling weapon in the war on terror to a simple newssheet that said of Bakri’s impending operation: “In an act of Christian charity we should let the op go ahead – so long as it is performed by ham-fisted John Prescott.”

Or, for that matter, the Sun’s cack-handed editor…

But there was to be a twist. On Friday the Edmonton Ayatollah was arrested in Lebanon. The Sun said that Bakri was now sleeping in a 4ft by 6ft cell, no bigger than his own Ford Galaxy.

But even in choky, the British authorities were taking no chances – Bakri failed to tell the Department of Work and Pensions that he was leaving the country so his £43.30 per week disability allowance was cancelled for the duration of this trip.

You want tough, Bakri. The British Government and the press will give you tough! And then some…’

Posted: 15th, August 2005 | In: Broadsheets Comment | TrackBack | Permalink