Abu Hamza inspired four to be suicide bombers

The radical cleric Abu Hamza was the malign influence behind all four of the July 21 bombers.

The men boasted to others of acting as Hamza’s bodyguards. When Finsbury Park mosque was shut down they tried to find him another base in south London.

Yassin Omar was among the first to attend the mosque as a teenager, according to a school friend.

As these pictures show, the Metropolitan Police made the most of the closure of the mosque in 2003 to take surveillance videos of the worshippers.

Among those they pictured were Muktar Ibrahim and Ramzi Mohammed.

Hamza would arrive to deliver his sermons, surrounded by his followers.

In conducting his sermons in the open, Hamza toned down his rhetoric but videos were on sale from a stall at the back and on the internet which revealed what he was telling his followers privately.

In one speech at the mosque he promised his followers “72 beautiful women in paradise” if they became suicide bombers. Hamza and his followers had worked hard to take over Finsbury Park despite the protests of the trustees.

It was only the discovery of evidence that linked the ricin poison plot to the mosque that led to it being shut down.

When officers raided the mosque they found a collection of weapons and equipment which had apparently been used in combat training. The basement had been converted into a dormitory and forged and stolen documents, including passports, were found. Hamza’s followers then set about finding another base.

Hussain Osman, one of the July 21 gang, identified Stockwell Green Mosque, as a possible target.

Toaha Qureshi, a trustee at the mosque, said: “They were trying to take us over and get rid of the trustees.”

The mosque was left open for worship. Osman and the others soon moved in.

Scuffles broke out at evening prayers and there were threats to kill Mr Qureshi and his supporters.

One teenager, who asked not to be named, described how he was playing football with his friends in the park when Osman rode past on his bike.

“He saw me. He had a scarf across his face and he said: ‘I’m going to kill you and your family.'”

Green paint was daubed on the white walls outside the mosque which read in Arabic: “In the name of Allah, go and kill kuffars [infidels].” The battle for control of the mosque culminated in a stand-off when Osman and his friends brought a mob of 50 to confront Mr Qureshi.

CCTV was fitted at the mosque and the group eventually gave up the fight.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Wednesday July 11, 2007.
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