January 11, 2006
Hamza wanted Islamic leader in the White House
By Michael Holden
LONDON (Reuters) - A British-based cleric on trial for
preaching murder and hatred of non-Muslims wanted a world
dominated by an Islamic ruler in the White House, a London
court heard on Wednesday.
how to make explosives and gave detailed instructions on
assassination methods, prosecutor David Perry said.
Hamza 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.
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 (Muslim
ruler), sitting, as he puts it, in the White House," Perry
"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 counts of
urging 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 judge specifically
instructed the jury not to search on the Internet for past
stories about him, saying the cleric had been the recipient of
much critical media coverage in the past.
"LIVING LIKE ANIMALS"
The accusations relate to nine video and audio tapes, made
between late 1997 and October 2000, which were seized when
Hamza was arrested on May 27, 2004.
Eight were found at his home and one at another address.
They were among 2,700 audio and 570 video tapes seized in
Perry cited one of the lectures, 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
Encyclopaedia 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.
Perry told the jury they would hear how Hamza told his
followers it was their "religious duty to fight in the cause of
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
"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.