Irishman and radical Muslim convert Khalid Kelly has returned to Ireland after a lengthy spell in Pakistan and possibly Afghanistan. We have discussed Kelly before on Gubu World in the context of Liam Egan's Muslim Public Affairs Committee. During a previous debate on radical Islam Paul over at A Modern Libertarian left this link about Kelly where the Dublin man rants about his dream of facing a British soldier on the Afghan battlefield. However it seems that his efforts in the region were unsuccessful as he has returned to Ireland for the first time since 1996 to set up a group called Islam for Ireland. This from Mary Fitzgerald of The Irish Times.
Irishman Khalid Kelly – who dreams of seeing the ‘black flag of Islam’ over the Dáil – has returned from Pakistan to set up a group called Islam for Ireland. IT IS seven years since Khalid Kelly, Liberties altar boy turned Muslim convert turned radical blowhard, prompted heckling and jeers from a Late Late Show audience. Back then Kelly, dressed in black and grey robes and accompanied by a fellow member of British-based organisation al-Muhajiroun, defended the 9/11 attacks and claimed one day the world would be ruled by sharia law.
Kelly became something of a poster boy for al-Muhajiroun and its founder, the controversial Syrian-born cleric Omar Bakri, and his association with the movement continued throughout the several reincarnations that followed its disbanding in 2004.
Bakri and his followers developed a schtick that blended jihadist rhetoric with virulent anti-Semitism and homophobia. They revelled in the notoriety and acres of press coverage generated by their inflammatory pronouncements.
Kelly regularly featured in breathless tabloid reports. He popped up on CNN to argue that the 2005 London transport bombings were justified because of Tony Blair’s foreign policy.
Then suddenly the man some media outlets referred to as “the famous Irish Muslim convert” dropped off the radar. Rumours he had pitched up in Pakistan proved correct when a reporter for a British newspaper interviewed him there last November. Under the headline “Irishman wants to kill for Islam”, Kelly boasted of undergoing weapons training in Pakistan’s tribal badlands.
“I’m already on the path to jihad,” he said. “Next week, inshallah, I could be in Afghanistan fighting a British soldier.” But Kelly’s dreams of jihad turned sour and he never made it to Afghanistan.
The possible reasons for this were hinted at in an interview he gave to the Arab newspaper Asharq Al Awsat some years ago. Kelly said many people in the Pakistani frontier town of Peshawar had warned him that, because of the colour of his skin and appearance, the Taliban might kidnap him for ransom or kill him if they suspected him of being an American spy.
In Dublin last week, Kelly explained he believed intelligence agencies were tailing him in Pakistan and he began to fear for his safety. “I went there to join people who were likeminded and help establish an Islamic state,” he says. “But as a white convert, I stuck out like a sore thumb.” Instead, he returned to Ireland in April and has been here since. In some ways, he seems different to the man who stirred such outrage on RTÉ in 2003.
His beard is now threaded with grey and his face is turning jowly. He also seems far less cocky.
Kelly is coy about what exactly prompted his hasty departure from Pakistan and what happened between that point and his arrival in Dublin – he mutters about his passport being “lost or stolen” in eastern Europe and mentions being deported somewhere along the way.
Soon after returning to Ireland, Kelly was ruffling feathers within the Muslim community here. Even though he now prefers to be known as Abu Osama (Arabic for “father of Osama”, a reference to the son he named after Osama bin Laden), people remembered him – Kelly and his al-Muhajiroun cohorts previously tried and failed to gain a foothold here.
Kelly was one of the most vocal speakers at a small demonstration outside the Belgian embassy in May. He told those gathered to protest against Belgium’s proposed ban on full-face veils that Europe was oppressing Muslims, and that he dreamt of seeing “the black flag of Islam” over Dáil Éireann. He also railed against the use of Shannon airport by US troops, and criticised the participation of seven Irish army personnel in the UN-mandated Nato-led mission in Afghanistan.
He made similar statements in an interview with Metro Éireann newspaper earlier this month, adding that Ireland is a “target for attacks” because of its involvement in Afghanistan. The resulting front-page article, headlined “We must listen to bin Laden” prompted complaints from Muslims living here.
Many consider Kelly an attention-seeking nuisance. He says he was recently told to move on while talking to a group of men at one of Dublin’s bigger mosques. He dismisses those who say he and his message are not welcome in Ireland as people “whose Islam is in doubt”.
Kelly complains he has been visited on several occasions by the security services since his return. He says he is seeking legal advice following one such encounter at his Dublin home last week, which he alleges resulted in a physical confrontation.
“They want me to stop speaking out, but I won’t,” he says. “It doesn’t matter if I’m in Pakistan, Lebanon, England or Ireland, there is an obligation to speak wherever you are. I’m not talking about fighting here in Ireland, but I am encouraging Muslims to fulfil their duties.”
The story of how Kelly, a former nurse, converted to Islam while serving a jail sentence for illicitly distilling and selling alcohol in Saudi Arabia, is told in Holy Wars , a new documentary currently showing in film festivals in the US. Five years in the making, it charts the personal journeys of both Kelly and Aaron Taylor, a Christian missionary from the US who tries to proselytise in Muslim-majority countries. Film-maker Stephen Marshall followed Kelly to Pakistan. Promotional shots show Kelly inspecting the wares at a gun market in the Northwest Frontier Province.
In a recent interview with a US newspaper, Marshall summed up many of the contradictions of the man once known as Terry Kelly.
“Khalid to me was this amazing enigma and paradox. He was this white Irish guy who was a Muslim and he was one of the most articulate spokesmen for his cause. And he loved the camera,” Marshall said. “I definitely feel that Khalid had this nihilism about him. Even though Khalid’s not really a threat, he’d like to think of himself as one. All his talk is focused on this battle that would only lead to his own destruction . . . But also, I think that Khalid loves life too much. He’s not the suicidal prototype. I think he can find happiness. I think that Khalid wants to be happy.”
So what next for Khalid Kelly? He claims he came back to Ireland only to get a new passport before deciding where to resettle with his family – his sons Osama and Mohammed live in Britain with their mother, a Pakistani woman whom Kelly met through associates of Omar Bakri.
However, he told Metro Éireann , he plans to establish a group here with the title “Islam for Ireland”. The name echoes that of Islam4UK, al-Muhajiroun’s most recent reinvention until it was banned in Britain in January on grounds of national security.
Kelly says he remains in regular contact with his mentor Bakri, who fled to Lebanon following the London bombings. When I interviewed Bakri in the Lebanese town of Tripoli three years ago, he praised Kelly but said he had no interest in setting up an organisation in Ireland.
“It is not a relevant arena for me because I don’t have people there,” Bakri said. “Ireland is definitely not on our map.”
The return or Mr Kelly is certainly going to make for some interesting posts on Gubu World in the near future. You may remember my recent post about the Muslim protest outside the Belgian Embassy in Dublin. At the time I thought Liam Egan was the principal organiser. According to Mary Fitzgeralds article Kelly was central to it as well. This indicates that he is not back in Ireland to keep a low profile. I for one welcome the challenge of confronting his agenda through the medium of the blogosphere. He has already claimed to have been assaulted by the Irish Police. It is of course a good thing that the Garda are keeping an eye on him. Although I believe his description of what happened is likely an unmitigated lie. This from the radical website Revolutionary Muslim.org which has Irish contributors.
Khaled kelly was brutally beaten up in his Dublin Home on Wednesday 21st July 2010 by what appeared to be an operation involving over 30 armed Irish Police in a totally unprovoked and premeditated attack. The said attack against Mr Kelly was primarily carried out by 5 or 6 plain clothed officers during which his face and body was punched and kicked leading to him being left in a pool of blood with his nose broken and body severely bruised.
In his own words Khalid describes the attack:
'...its hard to remember how long it went on for I was kicked and punched all over my body and at one stage I curled up into a ball to protect my head and vital organs but the beating continued. Then I was placed on my stomach and my hands placed behind my back and I was handcuffed but even at that stage when I thought they would cease to beat me it still continued with kicks and punches. I began to recite the Qur'an and I was told to keep quiet and at that stage my head was smashed on the floor and blood started to pour from my nose and I think when they saw the pool of blood then they stopped punching me. I was stood up but with my head forced down and was dragged to the bedroom area and thrown to my knees but all the time there was continual shouting cursing using foul language as there had been from the beginning of the ordeal...'
As I have always said. Ireland's Muslims simply do not have the appetite for the nonsense that eccentric attention seeking converts like Kelly and Egan spew. On the same site as above, a real Irish Muslim responded to Kelly's description of the assault better than I ever could.
I want to defend Ireland’s reputation from this liar and fraud. Ireland is a place that has shown solidarity to Muslims around the world and whose people have treated us with the typical friendliness, kindness and hospitality that the Irish are famous for, a nation that knows what it means to be oppressed and vilified by colonial powers.
Abu Osama (Khalid Kelly) went to Juma at the South Circular road mosque in Dublin a week after the alleged incident and there wasn’t a scratch on him, he’s been known to exaggerate and his reputation in the community is in the mud since 2003, to say that the Gardai didn’t have cause to investigate him is nonsense, only last month in an interview in the Metro Eireann he said that Ireland was a legitimate target for attack. How does that make me feel knowing that in a country that has given me and my family security my children might be killed in an attack inspired or planned by this man? I am absolutely disgusted. Kelly can either reform himself or leave, as he behaves now he is not welcome.
Ireland is country that 7 years ago when there was less than 30,000 Muslims broadcasted Juma prayers on RTE1 the national television broadcaster in Ramadan and continues to do so, and Ireland is the first country in Europe to provide government funds to Muslim schools… how dare the likes of Kelly malign our home with fabrications he is nothing but an attention seeker and a mischief maker in my eyes: Qala Ta’ala “ Ya Ayuha Allatheena Aamanoo Idha Ja’akum Fasiqin Bi Nabaen Fatabayano An TAaseebo Qawmaun Bi Jahala Fatasbahoo ‘Ala Ma Fa’ltum Nadimeen” – “Believers! if an unrighteous man brings you news look carefully into it lest you harm a people in ignorance then be regretful of what you did”
Interesting times ahead I reckon. Below is a trailer for the documentary "Holy Wars" featuring Khalid Kelly as mentioned in the Irish Times article above. It gives us a good indication of the type of man we are dealng with.