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MP’s anger at Muslim cleric case

BBC, UK
Feb. 23, 2004
news.bbc.co.uk

ReligionNewsBlog.com • Wednesday February 25, 2004

Radical Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri should be thrown out of Britain, Labour MP Andrew Dismore has said.

Mr Abu Hamza is appealing against deportation and continues to preach in the road outside Finsbury Park mosque, north London.

Mr Dismore questioned whether there was a “serious loophole” that allowed him to remain at large in the UK.

Immigration minister Beverley Hughes said the Home Office could not interfere in the case.

The cleric has faced fierce criticism for his remarks during sermons outside the mosque.

Mr Dismore told MPs in the Commons the public “cannot understand and do not accept” why the cleric was allowed to continue delivering inflammatory sermons.

Mr Dismore, who has campaigned for the removal of Mr Hamza’s citizenship, insisted he should be “thrown out” of the UK.

At question time, Mr Dismore asked: “Isn’t there a serious loophole that a year on Abu Hamza’s appeal still hasn’t been heard and his lawyers are threatening a seven-year legal battle?

“The British people, including most Muslims, cannot understand and do not accept Hamza being allowed to block the road every Friday, despite his anti-Semitism, holocaust denial and hatred for our country and our society, from Her Majesty the Queen downwards.”

Monitoring

Immigration Minister Beverley Hughes told MPs the Home Office was “not at liberty to interfere” with Mr Hamza’s appeal against deportation though she understood Mr Dismore’s frustration.

The timing of the appeal was in the hands of the SIAC (Special Immigration Appeals Commission) and funding was the responsibility of the Legal Services Commission.

“Any opportunity for a prosecution of this individual will be taken,” she told Mr Dismore.

The local police were monitoring him “very, very closely” including outside Finsbury Park Mosque on Fridays, she added.

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