WikiLeaks: Guantánamo Bay terrorists radicalised in London to attack Western targets

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A mosque in north London served as a “haven” for Islamic extremists as the capital became a central hub in the worldwide movement of militants, US documents seen by WikiLeaks showed Monday.

AFP reports:

The files, written by senior US military commanders at Guantanamo Bay, called the Finsbury Park mosque “an attack planning and propaganda production base” and named preachers Abu Qatada and Abu Hamza as key recruiters.

According to the leaked document — details of which were published on the website of the Telegraph newspaper — the two men sent dozens of extremists from throughout the world to train and fight in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

At least 35 detainees at the prison at the US naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, were captured while fighting against allied forces in Afghanistan having arrived there via British mosques.

Of these, 17 were British nationals or citizens who had been given residence after claiming asylum with the rest coming from abroad.

US officials described Qatada, whom the British government once paid compensation after he was “unfairly detained”, as “the most successful recruiter in Europe” and a “focal point for extremist fundraising”.

Hamza, who is famous for his prosthetic hook hand, was accused of urging “his followers to murder non-Muslims”. Both preachers were granted asylum in Britain.

Actually, Hamza is not so much ‘famous’ for his hook as he is notorious for being an intolerant bigot whose hatred lead him to preach “murder and hatred” to his followers, telling them it was their “religious duty to kill” non-Muslims.

London’s Daily Telegraph says:

Four mosques in London and an Islamic centre are highlighted as places where young Muslim men were radicalised and turned into potential terrorists. Finsbury Park mosque “served to facilitate and training of recruits,” note the files, adding that it was “a haven for Islamic extremists from Morocco and Algeria.”

The Daily Telegraph, along with other international newspapers, is publishing details of more than 700 files on the Guantánamo Bay detainees obtained by the WikiLeaks website.

Earlier, this newspaper disclosed that dozens of terrorists held at the prison had admitted plotting a wide array of attacks against targets in Britain and America. However, it also emerged that more than 150 innocent people had been sent to Guantánamo.

Now, the key role that Britain and British-based preachers played in the lives of many of the Guantánamo detainees can be disclosed.

British intelligence services also provided information, including lists of suspected extremists seized from raids on Islamic centres, to the US military as it interrogated detainees. The information was passed on despite the Government publicly condemning the use of torture at Guantánamo.

Citing Wikileaks the Telegraph also described how Britain ‘became a haven for migrant extremists’:

When Finsbury Park mosque opened nearly 20 years ago it was intended to be a centre for peaceful worship, feted by the Prince of Wales and seen as an emblem of multi-cultural Britain.

But the Guantánamo files disclose that by the late 1990s the mosque in north London had become a “haven” for extremism where disaffected young men from around the world were radicalised before being sent to al-Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan. […]

The mosques became recruitment centres for an al-Qaeda cell led by Abu Hamza, the radical imam formerly based in Finsbury Park, who is serving a seven-year sentence at Belmarsh high security prison, and Abu Qatada, a fanatical Muslim cleric described by British intelligence as “Osama bin Laden’s ambassador to Europe”.
Together, they turned London into a hub of global terrorism, taking in impressionable immigrants by the dozen and churning them out as killers-in-waiting.

As well as the men who passed through mosques in London, another 10 were radicalised outside the capital, mainly in Birmingham. For many of the Guantánamo detainees who passed through London, their journey to extremism began with hopes of a better life. […]

For the young men, the mosques became their home, providing accommodation, food and a sense of community. For the extremist clerics who ran the mosques, however, the stream of young men coming through their doors were ripe for recruitment. The Guantánamo files disclose how they were allegedly brainwashed with videos of atrocities committed against Muslims in Bosnia and Chechnya, and subjected to lectures by Hamza and Qatada which highlighted the virtues of the “pure Islamic state” to be found in Afghanistan.

As their indoctrination progressed, many of them became increasingly disenchanted with life in Britain.

The Terrorists Next Door?
Islam and terrorism

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This post was last updated: May. 9, 2014