London mosque’s reopening blocked

Supporters of the Muslim preacher Imam Abu Hamza al-Masri – detained in Britain since May following an extradition request from the United States – have prevented the mosque where he used to preach from reopening.

Abu Hamza's followers outside the mosque at Finsbury Park
Abu Hamza's followers outside the mosque at Finsbury Park

Leaders at the mosque in Finsbury Park, a neighbourhood in northwest London, abandoned plans to open up the building when confronted by scores of Hamza followers praying in front of it on Friday.

On 6 August several hundred supporters disrupted the official reopening of the mosque, closed last year after an anti-terrorist raid.

Egyptian-born Hamza, 46, is facing extradition to the United States on 11 “terrorism”-related charges, notably regarding a hostage-taking in Yemen in 1998 and an alleged al-Qaida training camp operating in Oregon in 1999-2000. His hearing was adjourned in July until mid-October.

The mosque was shut down early last year in what was seen as a British Government response to Abu Hamza’s outspoken sermons. Unfazed, the hook-handed radical cleric continued to preach on the sidewalk outside the premises.

Apart from the extradition proceedings, Abu Hamza – currently held at a prison in southeast London – is challenging an attempt by London to withdraw the British citizenship he acquired through marriage in the early 1990s.

His Egyptian citizenship was revoked in May this year.

Source : News Agencies

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