This item is available on the Militant Islam Monitor website, at http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/1538

Abu Hamza Al Masri trial begins in UK - videos show he told followers to kill - judge tells jurors 'its not a trial against Islam'

The Supporters of Sharia
January 11, 2006

http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/crime/article337917.ece

Hamza 'preached sermons of murder and hatred'

By Pat Clarke and Neville Dean, PA

Published: 11 January 2006

The Muslim cleric Abu Hamza preached "murder and hatred" to his followers, telling them it was their "religious duty to kill" non-Muslims, a court heard today.

Hamza singled out Jews, proclaiming in one of his sermons that "Hitler was sent into the world" because of their "treachery, blasphemy and filth", the Old Bailey was told.

Hamza, 47, from west London, faces nine charges under the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 alleging he solicited others at public meetings to murder Jews and other non-Muslims.

He also faces four charges under the Public Order Act 1986 of "using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour with the intention of stirring up racial hatred".

A further charge alleges Hamza was in possession of video and audio recordings, which he intended to distribute to stir up racial hatred.

The final charge under section 58 of the Terrorism Act accuses him of possession of a document, the Encyclopaedia of the Afghani Jihad, which contained information "of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism".

He denies the offences, allegedly committed before May 2004.

Hamza, who has no hands and only one eye, sat flanked by three dock officers as he heard trial judge Mr Justice Hughes tell the seven-man, five-woman jury to ignore what they had read or heard about him in the media.

The panel then heard prosecutor David Perry describe how Hamza had been found in possession of an Encyclopaedia of Afghani Jihad, which ran to 10 volumes.

"What the prosecution say about that encyclopaedia is that it was a manual for terrorism," he said.

The encyclopaedia "explained how to make explosives, it explained assassination methods and it explained how a terrorist unit, or a military unit, can most effectively operate", Mr Perry said.

The court heard that Hamza was born in Egypt in 1958 but that he had lived in this country for a number of years and was now a British citizen.

"He is also a Muslim and he is a well-known figure in the Muslim community," Mr Perry said.

"He is known as a preacher or speaker and as a preacher or speaker he will frequently give talks at meetings attended by Muslims and on occasions he would deliver sermons at Finsbury Park Mosque in north London, at least until that mosque was closed. It is only relevant to know it was closed in 2003."

He said that some of Hamza's talks and sermons had been recorded on video cassette. It was some of those cassettes which formed the basis of the prosecution's case, he said.

"As a person delivering sermons in a holy place and as a person holding a position of responsibility in the Muslim community, someone who was a spiritual leader, you might expect that talks delivered by such a person contained expressions of hope and of charity and compassion," Mr Perry said.

He told the jury that the speeches with which the court would be concerned contained "very little of these matters".

"The prosecution's case in a sentence is that the defendant, Sheik Abu Hamza, was preaching murder and hatred in these talks," he said.

"You will hear the tapes and we will hear that the defendant, Sheik Abu Hamza, encouraged his listeners, whether they were an audience at a private meeting or a congregation at the mosque, to believe that it was part of a religious duty to fight in the cause of Allah, God, and as part of the religious duty to fight in the cause of Allah, it was part of the religious duty to kill."

He continued: "The people they were being encouraged to kill, put shortly, were non-believers - those who did not believe in, or who were not a follower or even a true follower of Islam."

Hamza had occupied a position of responsibility as a spiritual leader, said Mr Perry.

"You would think he would be preaching tolerance, mutual co-existence and responsibility regardless of religion or creed.

"In fact he preached the opposite - intolerance, bigotry and hatred, in particular against Jews as a racial group and as a religious body," said Mr Perry.

"In the course of one lecture he accused the Jews of being blasphemous, traitors and dirty. This, because of the treachery, because of their blasphemy and filth, was why Hitler was sent into the world."

Hamza also claimed that Jews controlled the West.

"By that we take it to mean Western democracies such as this country," he told the jury.

Hamza said Jews must be removed from the earth.

"This aspect of his teaching also represents the offences of inciting racial hatred," Mr Perry told the jury.

Hamza had expressed hatred and contempt in particular for the Jews.

"But what he said did not stop with hate-mongering but he was exalting his listeners to kill."

The Muslim cleric Abu Hamza preached "murder and hatred" to his followers, telling them it was their "religious duty to kill" non-Muslims, a court heard today.

Hamza singled out Jews, proclaiming in one of his sermons that "Hitler was sent into the world" because of their "treachery, blasphemy and filth", the Old Bailey was told.

Hamza, 47, from west London, faces nine charges under the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 alleging he solicited others at public meetings to murder Jews and other non-Muslims.

He also faces four charges under the Public Order Act 1986 of "using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour with the intention of stirring up racial hatred".

A further charge alleges Hamza was in possession of video and audio recordings, which he intended to distribute to stir up racial hatred.

The final charge under section 58 of the Terrorism Act accuses him of possession of a document, the Encyclopaedia of the Afghani Jihad, which contained information "of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism".

He denies the offences, allegedly committed before May 2004.

Hamza, who has no hands and only one eye, sat flanked by three dock officers as he heard trial judge Mr Justice Hughes tell the seven-man, five-woman jury to ignore what they had read or heard about him in the media.

The panel then heard prosecutor David Perry describe how Hamza had been found in possession of an Encyclopaedia of Afghani Jihad, which ran to 10 volumes.

"What the prosecution say about that encyclopaedia is that it was a manual for terrorism," he said.

The encyclopaedia "explained how to make explosives, it explained assassination methods and it explained how a terrorist unit, or a military unit, can most effectively operate", Mr Perry said.

The court heard that Hamza was born in Egypt in 1958 but that he had lived in this country for a number of years and was now a British citizen.

"He is also a Muslim and he is a well-known figure in the Muslim community," Mr Perry said.

"He is known as a preacher or speaker and as a preacher or speaker he will frequently give talks at meetings attended by Muslims and on occasions he would deliver sermons at Finsbury Park Mosque in north London, at least until that mosque was closed. It is only relevant to know it was closed in 2003."

He said that some of Hamza's talks and sermons had been recorded on video cassette. It was some of those cassettes which formed the basis of the prosecution's case, he said.

"As a person delivering sermons in a holy place and as a person holding a position of responsibility in the Muslim community, someone who was a spiritual leader, you might expect that talks delivered by such a person contained expressions of hope and of charity and compassion," Mr Perry said.

He told the jury that the speeches with which the court would be concerned contained "very little of these matters".

"The prosecution's case in a sentence is that the defendant, Sheik Abu Hamza, was preaching murder and hatred in these talks," he said.

"You will hear the tapes and we will hear that the defendant, Sheik Abu Hamza, encouraged his listeners, whether they were an audience at a private meeting or a congregation at the mosque, to believe that it was part of a religious duty to fight in the cause of Allah, God, and as part of the religious duty to fight in the cause of Allah, it was part of the religious duty to kill."

He continued: "The people they were being encouraged to kill, put shortly, were non-believers - those who did not believe in, or who were not a follower or even a true follower of Islam."

Hamza had occupied a position of responsibility as a spiritual leader, said Mr Perry.

"You would think he would be preaching tolerance, mutual co-existence and responsibility regardless of religion or creed.

"In fact he preached the opposite - intolerance, bigotry and hatred, in particular against Jews as a racial group and as a religious body," said Mr Perry.

"In the course of one lecture he accused the Jews of being blasphemous, traitors and dirty. This, because of the treachery, because of their blasphemy and filth, was why Hitler was sent into the world."

Hamza also claimed that Jews controlled the West.

"By that we take it to mean Western democracies such as this country," he told the jury.

Hamza said Jews must be removed from the earth.

"This aspect of his teaching also represents the offences of inciting racial hatred," Mr Perry told the jury.

Hamza had expressed hatred and contempt in particular for the Jews.

"But what he said did not stop with hate-mongering but he was exalting his listeners to kill..."

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http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-1980501_2,00.html

Muslim cleric Hamza told his followers to kill, court hears
By Simon Freeman and agencies
Abu Hamza, the Muslim cleric, encouraged his followers to murder those he considered to be non-believers during sermons at mosques and in private meetings, a court heard today. Mr Hamza, 47, also known as Mustafa Kamel Mustafa and Abu Hamza al-Masri, allegedly used his position as a respected figure in North London's Muslim community to preach hatred among his audience.
Opening the case for the prosection, David Perry told jurors at the Old Bailey that Mr Hamza frequently gave talks at Muslim meetings and occasionally delivered sermons at Finsbury Park Mosque until it was closed in 2003. He said: "As a person delivering sermons in a holy place and as a person holding a position of responsibility in the Muslim community, someone who was a spiritual leader, you might expect that talks delivered by such a person contained expressions of hope and of charity and compassion." He told the jury that the speeches with which the court would be concerned contained "very little of these matters". "The prosecution's case in a sentence is that the defendant, Sheik Abu Hamza, was preaching murder and hatred in these talks," he said. Mr Perry said the alleged offences came to light when police officers searched an address in Fonthill Road, North London, associated with the mosque. Officers discovered a large number of audio cassettes and videos. He said that police discovered 2,700 audio tapes and 570 video tapes when they subsequently searched the home of Mr Hamza, who was born in Egypt but is now a British citizen.From those tapes, the prosecution extracted nine which the jury would hear during the course of the trial. Mr Perry said: "You will hear the tapes and we will hear that the defendant, Sheik Abu Hamza, encouraged his listeners, whether they were an audience at a private meeting or a congregation at the mosque, to believe that it was part of a religious duty to fight in the cause of Allah, God, and as part of the religious duty to fight in the cause of Allah, it was part of the religious duty to kill. "The people they were being encouraged to kill, put shortly, were non-believers - those who did not believe in, or who were not a follower or even a true follower of Islam." Mr Perry said the jury would hear Hamza talk about "apostates" those who abandoned what the defendant believed to be the true Islam. "His encouragement to murder was not limited to apostates but embraced non-believers, or in his words Kuffars - mean infidel or non-believer. Having identified those who, according to the defendant, were legitimate targets in the Jihad, they were legitimate targets as part of the war or struggle against the unbelievers." Mr Perry told the jury that Mr Hamza had also been found in possession of an encyclopaedia of Afghani Jihad, which ran to ten volumes. "What the prosecution say about that encyclopaedia is that it was a manual for terrorism," he said. "It was a manual that would assist and be designed to assist any person who is likely to be engaged in preparing or actually carrying out a terrorist act."

As the trial began this morning, the judge told the seven-man, five-woman jury to concentrate only on the evidence they heard in court. He explained that Mr Hamza, who has no hands and only one eye, had been the subject of a "fair amount" of critical press coverage and ordered jurors not to hunt on the internet for material. Mr Justice Hughes said: "You are not interested in what anyone has accurately or inaccurately said about him in the past." The jury was also told that the case against Hamza was "not a trial against Islam". Mr Perry said that the defendant's sermons were based on "his own interpretation" of the Koran.

"What the prosecution say is that it is quite clear that no religion condones the murder or killing of innocent men, women or children or the dissemination of hatred and bigotry," Mr Perry said. "Any suggestion that murder and hatred can be wrapped in a cloak of righteousness and justified on the basis of the great religion of Islam and its book, the Koran, is simply incorrect." Mr Perry said that in a democratic society the demands of "pluralism, broad-mindedness and tolerance" meant the accommodation of ideas which may offend, shock or disturb. However, our right to freedom of expression and free speech "did not extend to opinions which amount to racial hatred or the incitement of racial hatred or the encouragement of murder", he said. The promotion of hatred and violence were "destructive and corrosive of the very society that we cherish", he added. Mr Perry went on to tell the jury that the defendant made reference in his speeches to conflicts including those in Israel, Bosnia, Kosovo and Algeria. The case would not consider "the rights and wrongs" of these conflicts, he added. Mr Hamza faces nine charges under the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 alleging he solicited others to murder Jews and other non-Muslims. He also faces four charges under the Public Order Act 1986 of stirring up racial hatred A further charge alleges Hamza was in possession of video and audio recordings, which he intended to distribute to stir up racial hatred. The final charge under section 58 of the Terrorism Act accuses him of possession of a document, the Encyclopaedia of the Afghani Jihad, which contained information "of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism". He denies the charges. The trial continues.

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http://www.al-bab.com/yemen/hamza/hamza1.htm

Updated 7.3.99

Abu Hamza and the
Supporters of Shariah
THE KIDNAPPING of 16 western tourists in Abyan on 28 December 1998 and an alleged bomb plot in Aden have both been linked to an extreme Islamist organisation called Supporters of Shariah (SOS) which is run by Abu Hamza al-Masri, an imam at Finsbury Park mosque in north London.

According to the group's literature, SOS was formed in 1994, bringing together Muslims who had been working "under many other names in various parts of the world". It claims to have supported both mujahideen and refugees and Afghanistan, Bosnia and Kashmir, "as well as the frontline soldiers".

It aims "to remove the oppression created by man-made laws, so that the whole of mankind can enjoy the freedom, purity and justice of living under Allah's laws - the Shari'ah."

Abu Hamza, the leader of SOS, is said to have fought in the Afghan war and to have spent some time in Yemen afterwards as a refugee. He lost both hands and an eye in an accident. Little is known about his activities since he arrived in Britain. One press report claimed that he worked for a time as a night-club "bouncer".

The SOS website makes a point of encouraging Muslims to take up jihad, which it describes as "the forgotten obligation". It quotes the Qur'an and other sources to support this:

O you who believe! What is the matter with you, that when you are asked to march forth in the cause of Allah you cling heavily to the earth? Are you pleased with the life of this world rather than the Hereafter? But little is the enjoyment of the life of this world as compared to the Hereafter. (Sura 9:38)

If one of you stands in the cause of Allah (fighting) the reward gained would be better than if he prayed 70 years at home (Imaam Tirmidhi & Imaam Haakim)

Over Christmas 1998, from December 24 to 26, SOS held its fourth Islamic Camp at Finsbury Park Mosque in north London. The list of activities included "military training for brothers". A picture of a hand grenade appeared on the publicity material. Admission was 20, with reduced prices for children and families.

The rejection of man-made laws in favour of God's law brings SOS into direct conflict with the governments of Muslim countries, which it regards as corrupt and deviating from the Islamic Way. The places that most interest Abu Hamza, judging by the articles on his website, are Afghanistan, Egypt, Kosovo and Yemen. There is no particular threat to non-Muslim countries, except where they become involved in the Muslim world and "pollute" it with western ideas and influences.

Initially, his interest in Yemen may have been aroused through coincidence. In Afghanistan, during the war, he met Abu Hassan al-Mihdar, the Yemeni who later established the Islamic Army of Aden-Abyan. He also reportedly took refuge in Yemen for a while after the war.

Through his friendship with Abu al-Hassan and his own knowledge of Yemen, Abu Hamza seems to have concluded that the country was a good place to gain experience of jihad before continuing the struggle elsewhere. He is alleged to have told one of the men on trial in Aden: "After Afghanistan, Yemen is the [most] suitable country for training mujahideen" because the nature of Afghanistan resembles that of Yemen.

But Yemen also holds a special significance in Abu Hamza's world view. It is the only country in the Arabian peninsula which has not yet "surrendered" to what he calls the "United Snakes of America", but is on the point of doing so. The remedy is for Muslims in Yemen to "explode in the faces of the Snakes this will hopefully trigger a domino effect in the peninsula."

Yemen's "surrender", in Abu Hamza's view, seems to mean allowing western involvement in the country - oil companies and tourism, for example - but more particularly military involvement. Since the debacle of 1990, when Yemen was perceived as siding with Iraq (and heavily punished), the Sana'a government has been working hard to improve its relations with the west. Yemen needs good relations with the west mainly because of its fragile economy, but also as a safeguard in its long-running border dispute with Saudi Arabia. Military co-operation with the United States is part of the price Yemen must pay for this. There were numerous military contacts during 1998, amid rumours that the Americans were hoping to set up a base in Yemen. In mid-December, during the air raids on Iraq, there were claims that Yemen had been used as a refuelling point. Islamists also claimed that some of the Americans in Yemen were working with the Yemeni authorities to root out mujahideen.

According to the Yemenis, Abu Hamza called a meeting in London in September 1998. A man called Amin, who had come from Yemen, gave a talk and produced some recruiting leaflets for the Islamic Army of Aden-Abyan.

The following month, SOS issued a communique in Arabic on behalf of the Islamic Army, warning "unbelievers" to get out of the Arabian peninsula.

By this stage, according to a statement by the Yemeni President, Ali Abdullah Salih, published on January 28, Abu Hamza's organisation was already involved in "planning and financing sabotage and bombings in Yemen." In this context, Salih specifically mentioned an incident on October 13 in al-Dali' when a military officer and a soldier accompanying him were injured by a bomb. The explosives were hidden under the donkey's saddle and the animal was blown to pieces.

SOS boasted - and joked - about this incident in its November newsletter, under the headline: "Yemeni Mujahids send a donkey to kill donkey officer". The article noted: "The government claims they have caught someone in connection with the killing," but it added: "We doubt very much that they caught anyone, the Mujahideen's donkey was too clever for them."

The Yemeni authorities claim that the ten men currently on trial in Aden were sent by Abu Hamza to help with a terrorist campaign in Yemen. The men have been charged with "membership of an armed group and possession of weapons, explosives and unauthorised international communications devices, as well as starting to commit acts of sabotage against Yemeni and foreign interests in Aden." With one exception, all the accused deny all the charges.

According to the Yemeni authorities, it was in response to the arrest of six of these men (and three others arrested in a separate matter), that Abu al-Hassan and the Islamic Army kidnapped 16 western tourists on December 28 - hoping to exchange his hostages for the prisoners.

Barely an hour after kidnapping the tourists, Abu al-Hassan used his satellite phone to call Abu Hamza in London and tell him they had captured some "infidels". Abu Hamza later issued "Yemen Hostage Communique No 1", announcing the exploit.

Abu Hamza admits that he received the call. In an interview with al-Jazeera television on January 14, 1999, he said: "Abu al-Hassan called me to let me know after the kidnapping took place that he did not expect the Yemeni government to deal with this matter the same way it deals with other kidnappings. He wanted to convey a message and to clear his conscience if some of the hostages were killed because of the government's reckless behaviour."

According to an interview with Abu Hamza in al-Wasat magazine (11.1.99), Abu al-Hassan had been hoping the tourists would be mainly Americans, and seemed disappointed. Abu Hamza urged him not to harm the hostages and Abu al-Hassan agreed, saying that wanted to exchange them for nine Islamists who were under arrest. The nine prisoners consisted of two groups: Sheikh Salih Haidara al-Atawi and his two brothers who had been arrested at the beginning of December, and the six men (five British and an Algerian with a false French passport) who had been arrested on December 23/24.

On January 20, Abu Hamza held a press conference in London where he issued another communique (in English) warning all westerners to leave Yemen and calling for the overthrow of the Yemeni government.

On January 25, President Ali Abdullah Salih wrote a letter to Tony Blair, the British prime minister, seeking Abu Hamza's extradition to Yemen, "to be tried on charges of carrying out terrorist activities in Yemen and in several other Arab states".

On March 7, Abu Hamza al-Masri, the London-based imam, issued a new threat on behalf of the Islamic Army of Aden-Abyan. It warned the British and American ambassadors to leave Yemen - "the land of Islam" - and said that if they stayed "the strike will be painful for the enemies of Islam". The handwritten statement (which was sent to al-Hayat newspaper) was signed by "Abu al-Muhsin", who is said to be the new commander of the Islamic Army following the arrest of Abu al-Hassan al-Mihdar.

Following the death of King Hussein of Jordan, a new page was added to Abu Hamza's website under the heading "Another one bites the dust". It showed the king with horns on his head, surrounded by animated flames, apparently roasting in hell.

This item is available on the Militant Islam Monitor website, at http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/1538