British Islamic cleric on trial for incitement to murder

Prosecutor: Egyptian-born al-Masri used public meetings to urge killing of Jews and non-Muslims.

January 25, 2006 17:25
1 minute read.
British Islamic cleric on trial for incitement to murder

al-masri 88.298. (photo credit: )


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A prosecutor on Wednesday accused radical cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri of telling his congregation at a London mosque that killing was justified to help the Palestinian intefadah, or uprising. Al-Masri, a 47-year-old Egyptian-born Muslim preacher denied the charge by prosecutor David Perry as he faced questioning for a fifth day during his trial in the Old Bailey court on multiple counts of inciting murder and stirring up racial hatred. Al-Masri has pleaded innocent. Quoting a sermon the cleric allegedly had made to his congregation at the Finsbury Park mosque, Perry said: "If it's killing, do it. If it's paying, pay. If it's ambushing, ambush. If it's anything, poisoning, poison. You help your brothers, you help Islam in any way you like it, anywhere you like." Perry described these as "powerful words spoken by a preacher to a tinderbox congregation who were angry." Hamza replied: "Yes, they are angry." Perry: "When you tell them to kill, what do you think they are intending to do?" Hamza: "I am not saying murder, I am saying go and resist. The job of a preacher is not to ignite people's anger, but direct it. But now I am being punished for it." Hamza faces nine charges under Britain's Offenses Against the Person Act 1861, alleging that 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 behavior with the intention of stirring up racial hatred." A further charge alleges Hamza was in possession of video and audio recordings that 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 Encyclopedia of the Afghani Jihad," that contained information "of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism."

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