UK Muslim Cleric 'Incited Followers to Murder'

By Mark Mayne | July 7, 2008 | 8:17 PM EDT

London ( - Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri urged his followers to murder Jews and non-Muslims, a London court heard Wednesday.

The Egyptian-born preacher also called for a caliph (an Islamic leader regarded as a successor of the prophet Muhammed) to sit in the U.S. White House and said Hitler was sent into the world because Jews were blasphemous and dirty, according to prosecutor David Perry.

Hamza , 47, denied 15 charges, including having a document "useful" to a terrorist and soliciting people to murder non-Muslims.

He was arrested on May 27, 2004, and is the most high-profile figure to go on trial in the U.K. on charges of incitement to murder and stirring up racial hatred since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the U.S.

Perry said a "terrorism manual" was found at the cleric's home in London during May 2004, as well as some 2,700 audio tapes and 570 video cassettes of his talks and sermons -- many given at a Finsbury Park mosque in north London .

Nine of these recordings will be heard by the jury during the course of the trial.

The "terrorism manual" was a 10-volume encyclopedia of Afghani Jihad, which explained how to make explosives and gave detailed instructions on assassination methods, the court was told.

"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," Perry said.

Perry said that Hamza was a well-known preacher in the Muslim community who frequently delivered sermons at the Finsbury Park mosque before it was closed in 2003.

Perry told the jury: "The prosecution case is that Sheikh Abu Hamza was preaching murder and hatred.

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

"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.

On one tape, recorded in 1999 and entitled "Adherence to Islam in the Western World," Hamza allegedly described the U.K. as a kuffar (unbeliever) country that was at war with Islam because it did not believe in sharia (Islamic) law, the jury heard.

"He says the responsibility of his audience is to do jihad and spread Islam by the sword," said Perry. "He says European people only respond to those who are strong. He said kuffar blood is halal -- permitted. He explains kuffars can be killed.

"He says that killing the kuffar for any reason is OK -- even if it is for no reason at all," Perry added. "You might think that is indiscriminate killing."

The prosecuting counsel said Hamza was born in Egypt in 1958 but had lived in the U.K. for a number of years and was now a British citizen.

Hamza, who has no hands and only one eye, faces life imprisonment if found guilty.

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