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Friday, 14 February, 2003, 16:11 GMT
Hate charge cleric no 'harmless crank'
Abdullah el-Faisal
Abdullah el-Faisal denies circulating race hate tapes
A Muslim cleric accused of preaching messages of hatred should not be mistaken for a harmless crank, a jury has been warned.

Abdullah el-Faisal abused his position to stir up racial hatred and encourage his followers to murder Hindus, Jews, Americans and non-believers, the Old Bailey heard.

Mr el-Faisal, of Albert Square, Stratford, east London, denies five charges of soliciting murder and four charges relating to stirring up racial hatred.

Prosecutor David Perry told the court the cleric was someone whose words were taken seriously and threatened the safety of others.

This is a cleric addressing like-minded Muslims from a position of authority

Prosecutor David Perry

He said: "It is very easy for someone using the cloak of his religion to gain notoriety, to gain a following, to have a voice, to have a soap box.

"The problem is, this is not some crank in Speaker's Corner in Hyde Park.

"This is a cleric addressing like-minded Muslims from a position of authority."

The prosecution case is based on transcripts of tape recordings by the cleric which were put on sale, the court has heard.

The 39-year-old Muslim convert encouraged British Muslims to attend terrorist training camps in Afghanistan and said the UK was the greatest enemy of Islam, it was alleged.

He is accused of telling his young audiences: "You have to learn to fly planes, drive tanks and you have to learn how to load your guns and to use missiles."

The trial was adjourned until Tuesday.


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22 Jan 03 | England
22 Jan 03 | England
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