The fiery Imam of Finsbury Park Mosque in London, Abu Hamza, has been found guilty by a New York jury of kidnapping and terrorism charges. He was extradited from Britain in October 2012. The charges date back to 1998. He will be sentenced on September 9 and will likely get life. Abu Hamza had fought against the Soviets in Afghanistan when America was an ally of these fighters.
New York, Crescent-online
Monday May 19, 2014, 23:09 DST
Abu Hamza (real name Mustafa Kamel Mustafa), the former Imam of Finsbury Mosque in London was found guilty of kidnapping and terrorism charges in a New York court today.
He was extradited from Britain in October 2012 after a prolonged legal battle. Blind in one eye and with no hands, having lost both in an accidental explosion in Pakistan, he showed no emotion after the jury delivered its guilty verdict.
He will be sentenced on September 9 and could possibly get a life sentence.
The 56-year-old former Imam of Finsbury Park London, who had fought against the Soviets in Afghanistan, denied the charges although he admitted to using fiery language in his sermons.
He took the stand in his own defence for three days. Extracts from his sermons were played in court for dramatic effect although these were highly selective. Often, sentences were cut short to create a negative impression.
Defense lawyer Jeremy Schneider dismissed what he said was the “quantity of irrelevant evidence,” and said Abu Hamza was being tried for “his words in general, not his deeds.”
The charges against Abu Hamza pre-date the 9/11 attacks in New York. He was accused of involvement in the 1998 abduction of 16 Western tourists in Yemen, four of whom were killed in a military rescue operation.
The other charge against him related to setting up a terrorist training camp in the US in 1999, and of promoting “violent jihad” on a global scale.
When asked about supplying a satellite to the Yemeni militant group that kidnapped Western tourists, he admitted but said he was only told of the abduction after the fact. He also said he dismissed the suggestion from a young man that told him of plans to set up a jihad training camp in Oregon in 1999.
He said he didn't know another of the young men at his mosque had left to fight in Afghanistan. The mosque was opened in 1997 in a ceremony attended by Prince Charles. Would the US accuse the British Crown Prince of aiding and abetting terrorism?
The mosque was closed in 2003.
Abu Hamza was arrested in 2004 at US request and sentenced to seven years in prison by a British court on charges of inciting murder and racial hatred.
While in Afghanistan, he had worked closely with the American CIA when jihadis were popular and considered allies of the West against Godless communism.
Abu Hamza’s plight and that of Osama bin Laden before him shows the dangers of working to Western agendas. After being used by the West, the risks of arrest, kangaroo trial and long sentence or even getting killed execution style are very real.