London Islamic cleric caught on tape calling for death of Americans
A London-based Muslim cleric has been caught on film urging his followers to kill non-Muslims – particularly Americans – and to commit other acts of terrorism.
Sheik Abu Hamza, affiliated with London's Finsbury Park mosque, tells an audience that non-believers should be killed or sold into slavery in a tape converted to digital files and smuggled on to the Internet.
The tapes were reportedly given by Hamza to a researcher who posed as a supporter and infiltrated his inner circle. "If a kafir person (non-believer) goes in a Muslim country, he is like a cow," explains Hamza. "Anybody can take him. That is the Islamic law."
"If a kafir is walking by and you catch him, he's booty," he says on one tape. "You can sell him in the market. Most of them are spies. And even if they don't do anything, if Muslims cannot take them and sell them in the market, you just kill them. It's OK."
Hamza praises the al-Qaida bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 people.
"If Muslims are having a war against these people, than yes, it is legitimate," he says.
He praised attacks against ships from non-Muslim countries: "If a ship which loses its way and comes to a Muslim land, they'll take it as booty."
A terrorist attack in 2000 on the USS Cole killed 17 American sailors. The attack has been linked to Muslim militants in Britain, but Hamza has never been charged.
Despite accusations he recruits for al-Qaida, Hamza's only punishment in Britain has been a High Court order banning him from preaching at the Finsbury Park mosque. However, when the Ottawa Citizen visited the mosque several weeks ago, worshippers had his phone number handy, the newspaper reported.
"It's all fabrication. He's just taking clips and taking it out of context, as usual," Hamza said last night when asked about the videos.
He scoffed at suggestions the tapes may lead to his arrest.
He said he can't be accused of inciting people to commit violent acts because he's a cleric who only preaches Muslim law. "I say the reality that's in the Muslim books anyway. Whether I say it or not, it's in the books."
The sheik, who was born in Egypt and grew up in England, then alluded to more violence – using language similar to that used by Osama bin Laden.
"Just as non-Muslim blood is hot, Muslim blood is hot, too," he said. "It's for them to worry about. When they kill, they will be killed."
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