Abu Izzadeen
Johnny Green  /  AP
Abu Izzadeen is seen after disrupting Home Secretary John Reid's meeting with Muslim leaders in September. He called Reid an ‘enemy of Islam.’
updated 2/8/2007 12:17:37 PM ET 2007-02-08T17:17:37

A British Muslim convert widely known for extremist outbursts was arrested Thursday for allegedly encouraging terrorism, police said.

The Metropolitan Police gave no details about what prompted the arrest of Abu Izzadeen, saying it came “as a result of an ongoing inquiry” under anti-terrorism laws.

A British citizen, he has described himself as the spokesman for the al-Ghurabaa group, which was outlawed by the British government in July.

Izzadeen, 31, had a public confrontation with a British Cabinet minister in September.

He disrupted a meeting between Home Secretary John Reid and Muslim leaders in London, which Reid had called to ask Muslim parents to look out for signs in their children of brainwashing by extremists.

Describing Reid as an “enemy of Islam and Muslims” and a “tyrant,” Izzadeen shouted: “Shame on all of us for sitting down and listening to him.”

Several arrested last year
Several members of the al-Ghurabaa group were arrested on suspicion of inciting violence in February 2006 during a heated protest of the depiction of prophet Muhammad in cartoons published in European newspapers.

British media have reported that Izzadeen grew up in a Christian family but converted to Islam when he was 17. He has been quoted as saying that Britain’s failure to accept a “cease-fire” from Osama bin Laden led to the July 7, 2005, attacks in which four suicide bombers killed 52 people on London’s transit system.

Earlier this week, Britain’s ITV News claimed to have obtained a clip from a password-protected Web site showing a 2004 speech by Izzadeen in which he called for the beheading of any Muslim who joins the British army.

Police last week arrested nine terrorism suspects in the Birmingham area. News media reported the arrests were made in connection with an alleged plan to abduct, torture and behead a British Muslim soldier and broadcast the killing on the Internet.

Two of the nine have since been released without charge.

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