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The echoes can be heard in many neighborhoods of north and east London, where Sajid Sharif, 37, a trained civil engineer who goes by the name Abu Uzair, once handed out incendiary leaflets preaching his brand of extreme Islam. From the comfort of his home, he leads the Savior Sect, a group that claims several hundred supporters and seeks to unite all Muslims worldwide under a strict conception of Islamic law. That might seem fanciful--except that Uzair's mentor, Omar Bakri Muhammad, was one of the first clerics to lose his right to live in Britain under the new antiterrorism laws. He was barred from returning after a holiday abroad. Uzair says he isn't concerned about the threat of eviction because he is British born, and his lawyer has reportedly told him he has little to worry about. "Anyway," says Uzair, "it is all in the hands of Allah."
Uzair is bearded, wears a long white gown and quotes nonstop from the Koran and Hadith (a collection of the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad). His Pakistani parents are secular Muslims, he says, and speak very little English. In his youth he smoked and went to night clubs. It was not until he was a university student in Britain that he embraced Islam. "I wanted some inner discipline," he says. "Since I have come to Islam, I have a lot of tranquillity." Now he tries to steer people away from drugs, drink, crime and smoking. Uzair's supporters refuse to vote in elections because his sect recognizes only Shari'a, Islamic law. While he does not openly support terrorism, he declares that the July 7 attacks were retaliation for Britain's support of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. "The majority of Muslims in the U.K. are frustrated, but they cannot speak," he says. "They will not condone the London bombings, but inside they believe that Britain had it coming."
The hostility Uzair feels toward the country of his birth is not atypical. Many second-generation Muslims in Europe say they feel a part of neither their native countries nor their parents' heritage. Riad, 32, a French citizen who has been unemployed since 2002 and who asked to be identified by his first name, embodies the sense of estrangement. "They say we are French, and we would like to believe that as well," he says, sitting in a café in the Vénissieux suburb of Lyons. "But do we look like normal French people to you?" His friend Karim, 27, says they are discriminated against because of their long beards. "Who will give us a job when we look like this? We have to fend for ourselves and find a way out."