The extremist Muslim speaker Omar Bakri Muhammad has declared Paul McCartney "the enemy of every Muslim" due to his decision to perform in Israel in honor of the country's 60th anniversary.
In an interview with the British tabloid 'Sunday Express' Bakri said, “If he values his life Mr. McCartney must not come to Israel. He will not be safe there. The sacrifice operatives will be waiting for him.”
The self-proclaimed preacher added that “instead of supporting the people of Palestine in their suffering, McCartney is celebrating the atrocities of the occupiers. The one who is under occupation is supposed to be getting the help.
“And so I believe for Paul McCartney, what he is doing really is creating more enemies than friends.”
The Syrian born orator, defined by CNN News as a friend of al-Qaeda, was excommunicated from the UK and now operates out of Lebanon, where he broadcasts hate-filled sermons over the internet.
The Sunday Express wrote that sources associated with the former Beatle claim he was shocked by the threats against him, "but refused to be intimidated." The paper also quoted from his interview with the Israeli media.
“I was approached by different groups and political bodies who asked me not to come here. I refused. I do what I think and I have many friends who support Israel,” McCartney told Israeli reporters.
'Muslims have right to be angry'
Other criticizing Islamist voices have also emerged. Attorney Anjem Choudary, who last week chaired a meeting in London at which extremists claimed the next 9/11 would be in Britain, said Sir Paul had allowed himself to become a propaganda tool for Israel.
“Muslims have every right to be angry at Paul McCartney. How would the world react if he wanted to have a concert in occupied Kashmir?" he asked.
“They would not allow it to happen but because it is Israel he can play. A country which, as the celebration indicates did not exist 60 years ago, only exists thanks to stealing and occupying another country’s lands.”
Omar Barghouti, of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, described Bakri's threat as “deplorable”.
Patrick Mercer, the Conservative MP for Newark and a former Shadow Security Minister, also condemned the outburst. “One could dismiss Bakri as a ranting extremist but history has shown that he has an ability to twist minds, so his comments should not be underestimated.
“If Sir Paul McCartney wants to play at the 60th anniversary then it is the worst form of ill-liberalism for Omar Bakri to restrict the artist’s freedom in this way,” he said.