Islamic gangsters: Cleric sent private militia to takeover mosques
By Jim Kouri
Now that radical imam Abu Hamza is a convicted felon and probably will be extradited and face terror charges in the United States, clerics from other mosques are finally coming forward to tell the world how Hamza sent teams of young supporters -- his own private militia -- in Britain with orders to takeover other mosques.
Several clerics told stories of being threatened by gangs claiming to be members of Abu Hamza’s Supporters of Sharia group. Some of the clerics were beaten inside their own mosques, and worshippers were bullied into finding new places to pray -- and the police refused to intervene, they claim.
One police official, under condition of anonymity, said that law enforcement executives in Britain were overly cautious about their interaction with Muslim leaders and their mosques.
Police came underfire when they swarmed one mosque with search warrants in hand. To their credit they uncovered a cache of weapons, forged identity documents and recipes for chemical weapons such as the highly dangerous Ricin; all of it hidden in the mosque.
The stash of equipment included chemical warfare protection suits, or NBC (nuclear, biological and chemical) suits, as they are technically known. British detectives believe the equipment and weapons were being used in terror training camps located somewhere within the United Kingdom.
Abu Hamza wanted to acquire more places where he and his lieutenants could indoctrinate a new generation of followers and send them off to terror training camps abroad.
Even some of his own followers became disenchanted with his tactics. They described how he was more like a Mafia godfather than a religious leader in dealing with anyone he believed defied him. Two rival imams in London claim they were hospitalized after being attacked, and they complained that Scotland Yard practically ignored their assault complaints.
In one of his sermons, heard by the jury during his London trial, Abu Hamza bragged about how his violent tactics bore fruit. He said, “If the people know you are firm, they will back down. They all back down.”
His silent rein of terror began in the late 1980s when he became a member of a group of Algerian-born radicals trying to take over the Central London Mosque.
Fazli Ali, 66, the former estates manager there told the London police: “Hamza and his cronies threatened me several times. I was head of security but they even threatened to kill me. Ours was a peaceful place but he wanted to turn it into a political arena.”
The religious leaders eventually evicted and banned Hamza from their mosque. But Hamza, determined to be an Islamic leader to be reckoned with, sought out more vulnerable mosques and mainstream Islamic organizations around Britain.
These newly infiltrated mosques provided Hamza with recruiting centers ripe with potential radical Islamists. They also were used to raise money which is believed to have funded terror operations and training for new recruits. There were also criminal operations such as producing bogus welfare claims and cloning credit cards.
It was from their mosques that over 100 immigrant Muslims and British-born Islamic converts were sent to Middle East locations where they attended al-Qaeda training camps. British officials including those within MI5 conceded that they don't know what happened to these men sent for training. They believe some may have been killed in combat or suicide bomb attacks, with most disappearing like a wisp of smoke.
According to one news story in the Sunday Times of London, Imams reported what was happening to police, but say that senior officers were reluctant to interfere in the internal affairs of mosques. Some imams sued Abu Hamza in the civil court hoping to stop his plans, but they found the cases too costly and the court proceedings dragged on and on. Most of Hamza's rival clerics were just too frightened to buck his associates who acted as his private militia in the middle of London.
Terrorism experts in the US believe similar situations exist in mosques across the country and political correctness prevents federal and local law enforcement from singling out and investigating -- including infiltrating -- these religious facilities.
For instance, several US senators have voiced concerns that the US Bureau of Prisons uses the Graduate School of Islamic and Social Sciences (GISS), which is under investigation for possible funneling of money to terrorists, and the Islamic Society of North America, which has board members with terror links.
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and he's a staff writer for the New Media Alliance. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. Kouri writes for many police and security magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer and others. He's appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com. Kouri's own website is located at http://jimkouri.us
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