January 11, 2006

Hamza wanted “caliph in the White House”: UK court

By Michael Holden

LONDON (Reuters) - Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri wanted
a caliph sitting in the White House and said Hitler was sent
into the world because Jews were blasphemous and dirty, a
London court heard on Wednesday.

Hamza, 47, is the most high-profile figure to go on trial
in Britain on charges of incitement to murder and stirring up
racial hatred since the September 11, 2001 attacks on
Washington and New York.

Interest in the case has increased since suicide bombings
on London's transport system last July killed 52 people.

Prosecutor David Perry said the Egyptian-born cleric used
public meetings at the Finsbury Park mosque in north London and
private meetings to incite his followers to kill non-Muslims.

"The prosecution case is, in one sentence, that Sheik Abu
Hamza was preaching murder and hatred in these talks," Perry
told the Old Bailey court.

"He makes calls for a world dominated by a caliph, sitting,
as he puts it, in the White House," Perry said.

"In one of his lectures, he accused the Jews of being
blasphemous, treacherous and dirty. This, because of their
treachery and their blasphemy and their filth, was why Hitler
was sent into the world," Perry said.

Hamza faces nine counts of using public meetings to incite
his followers to kill non-Muslims and four other charges that
he urged the killing of Jews.

He is also accused of using threatening, abusive or
insulting behavior with intent to stir up racial hatred, along
with one charge of possessing threatening, abusive or insulting
sound recordings, and another count under anti-terrorism laws.

Hamza has denied all the charges.


The charges relate to nine video tapes seized when Hamza
was arrested on May 27, 2004. Eight were at his home and one
was at another address. The tapes were among 2,700 audio and
570 video tapes seized.

The first recording the jury were to hear, Perry said, was
made at what the prosecution believed to be a private meeting
in Whitechapel, east London, in 1997 or 1998.

"The defendant says that Muslims living in this country are
living in a toilet -- they are living like animals," Perry
said. "He calls on his audience to sacrifice themselves in
order to establish the caliphate."

Perry said Hamza also had in his possession "The
Encyclopeadia of Afghani Jihad" that ran for 10 volumes.

"It was a manual that would assist any person who was
likely to be involved in the preparation or actual carrying out
of terrorism activity," he added.

He said the manual explained how to make explosives and
gave detailed instructions on assassination methods.

Perry told the jury they would hear how Hamza told his
followers it was their "religious duty to fight in the cause of
Allah, God."

The prosecutor said Hamza had frequently made clear that
leaders of Arab nations who were friendly to the West and
Israel were legitimate targets.

Perry said he criticized Saudi Arabia as a country "that
has been stolen by an evil family," a reference to the Saudi
royal family.

"The real reason he criticizes that country is because it
has links with the United States and links with Europe," Perry

If found guilty, Hamza, who has lost both hands and an eye,
faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.

The trial is expected to last three weeks.