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Monday, 16 December, 2002, 18:03 GMT
Muslim cleric faces sack by charity
Sheikh Abu Hamza
Sheikh Abu Hamza was suspened in April
Controversial Muslim cleric Sheikh Abu Hamza could be removed from his position at a London mosque by early next year, the Charity Commission has announced.

The commission said the cleric had until 20 January to answer complaints against him following a provisional decision to remove him from the North London Central Mosque, in Finsbury Park.

The sheikh was suspended in April by the commission, which has jurisdiction over the mosque as it is a registered charity.

It said it took the action because of statements he made of an "extreme and political" nature which were in conflict with the mosque's charitable status.

Order breached

A sermon preached by the cleric on 12 October, 2001, in the wake of the 11 September al-Qaeda attacks on the US, was cited at the time of the suspension by Charity Commission officials.

He had used the charity's premises to "facilitate" activities organised by a non-charitable political organisation, the Commission said.

It further noted the sheikh's "apparently deliberate" breach of the suspension order.

Simon Gillespie, director of operations at the Charity Commission, said: "We do not take this kind of action lightly and Mr Hamza now has a further opportunity to make representations to us.

"Our provisional decision to remove him was conveyed to the charity's trustees, who raised no objections to our action."

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BBC London's Paul Curran
"No sign of Abu Hamza at the mosque today."

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26 Apr 02 | England
23 Jan 02 | UK
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