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Last Updated: Friday, 27 January 2006, 14:11 GMT
Hamza 'recruited for terrorism'
Abu Hamza
Mr Abu Hamza denies the charges against him
Alleged race hate cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri was a recruiting sergeant for terrorism and murder, a court heard.

He used "the most dangerous weapons available" - Islam, his civic position and words - prosecutor David Perry told the Old Bailey in his closing speech.

When Mr Abu Hamza gave evidence in his defence, he said, "he did everything to avoid answering questions".

Mr Abu Hamza, 47, from west London, denies 15 charges, including soliciting murder and inciting racial hatred.

During the trial the cleric has denied urging a "tinderbox" congregation at London's Finsbury Park mosque to go out and murder.

'Recruiting officer'

Mr Perry told the jury Mr Abu Hamza made clear encouragements to kill when he gave lectures and sermons to various audiences.

For him Islam is not the inclusive, moderate and tolerant religion practised by millions, but a religion of bitterness, resentment and hostility
David Perry

He said the preacher linked religious duty with a promise of spiritual reward.

"The defendant was a recruiting sergeant, a recruiting officer, for terrorism and murder," Mr Perry told the court. "In addition to his role as recruiting officer for homicidal violence, we say he was also preaching hatred.

"Through his threatening, abusive and insulting words, he preached hatred against Jews as a racial and ethnic group - not limited to Zionist Jews, or Jews in Israel, if that would not be bad enough - he preached hatred unqualified of the Jews."

Intelligence meetings

The jury has seen videos of Mr Abu Hamza preaching at the Finsbury Park mosque in north London.

"You may think, having seen these lectures and sermons, that for him Islam is not the inclusive, moderate and tolerant religion practised by millions, but a religion of bitterness, resentment and hostility."

Earlier the court was told Mr Abu Hamza met with British secret services seven times between 1997 and 2000. He also met French security services and Special Branch officers at Scotland Yard.

Dates and details were given in admissions to the court. They said after an earlier arrest in 1999, police viewed 725 tapes seized. Some of those were of a similar nature to those featured in the present case.

Charges faced

Mr Abu Hamza faces nine charges under the Offences Against the Person Act 1861, which allege that he solicited others at public meetings to murder Jews and other non-Muslims.

He faces four other 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 claims the defendant 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 possessing the Encyclopaedia of the Afghani Jihad, which, it is claimed, contained information "of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism".

The trial was adjourned until Monday.

Timeline: Hamza trial
24 Jan 06 |  UK


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