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Tuesday, 4 February, 2003, 14:26 GMT
Muslim cleric ousted at mosque
Sheik Abu Hamza
Sheik Abu Hamza has been banished from the mosque
The controversial Muslim preacher Sheikh Abu Hamza has been removed from his position as an agent of Finsbury Park Mosque.

The cleric's dismissal was announced on Tuesday by the Charities Commission, which said its decision was based on Mr Abu Hamza's consistently inflammatory remarks.

He had recently been barred from preaching at the North London Central Mosque and he inflamed public opinion this week when he spoke out about the Columbia space shuttle disaster.

The action we have taken today enables the trustees of the North London Central Mosque to govern the charity so that it can do the important work for which it was originally established

Charities Commission
He said the crew had been punished with death by Allah because there was an Israeli - Ilan Ramon, an Indian-born Hindu - Kalpana Chawla, and Americans on board.

The Commission used its powers to remove Mr Abu Hamza in order to protect the charity and its future administration.

It took this step because the trustees of the charity had been prevented from governing the mosque properly by the activities of Mr Abu Hamza and his supporters.

Disrepute

It also found that Mr Abu Hamza had used his position within the charity to make inappropriate political statements.

It also believes Mr Abu Hamza had allowed other organisations to operate from the mosque and had brought the charity into disrepute.

The Commission first suspended Abu Hamza on 23 April 2002.

Since that date he has continued to operate within the charity.

Chief Charity Commissioner John Stoker said: "The action we have taken today enables the trustees of the North London Central Mosque to govern the charity so that it can do the important work for which it was originally established."

Court order

The Commission has received representations from Mr Abu Hamza's solicitors, and says it has responded to these in full.

Mr Abu Hamza's solicitor, Muddassar Arani, told BBC News 24 that the Commission's move "to oust him through the back door" was politically motivated.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Andrew Burroughs
"They have formally removed him from his position"
Abu Hamza on BBC Asian Network:
"I will continue preaching"
Simon Gilespie, Charity Commission
"I would strongly recommend Abu Hamza complies with this order"
See also:

27 Jan 03 | England
24 Jan 03 | England
17 Jan 03 | UK
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