Skip to comments.London Iman Faces FBI Inquiry Over Al-Qa'eda Training Camp
Posted on 07/25/2002 4:37:47 PM PDT by blam
London imam faces FBI inquiry over al-Qa'eda training camp
By Sean O'Neill (Filed: 25/07/2002)
Sheikh Abu Hamza al-Masri, the radical London imam, is at the centre of an FBI investigation into an alleged plot to recruit young American Muslims into an al-Qa'eda cell in the United States.
Sheikh Abu Hamza al-Masri is at the centre of the FBI's investigation The US authorities have arrested two Muslim activists from Seattle with links to Hamza or his mosque in Finsbury Park, north London. They claim the men were involved with Hamza in organising a "jihad training camp".
US sources confirmed to The Telegraph yesterday that Hamza's activities were at the core of their investigation. Agents were gathering evidence against him and the allegation linking him to a jihad camp was "just the start" of the inquiry.
If a case can be established against Hamza, a British citizen who lost both hands and an eye fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan, the US Government may request his extradition.
Hamza, 44, who has also been linked to Richard Reid, the shoe bomber, and Zacarias Moussaoui, the "20th hijacker" on September 11, dismissed the threat of extradition.
"It does not worry me because I live in Britain as a captive anyway," he said. "I am watched by the police and I cannot travel anywhere because they seized my passport two years ago and have never returned it."
The FBI investigation stems from the interrogation of Feroz Abbasi, from Croydon, south London, who was captured in Afghanistan while fighting for the Taliban and is being held in Camp X-Ray at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Abbasi, 23, a former computer studies student, went to fight in Afghanistan after worshipping at Finsbury Park mosque, where Hamza delivers his firebrand sermons.
He is understood to have told the FBI that he was escorted to an al-Qa'eda camp in Afghanistan by James Ujaama, a black Muslim activist from Seattle who was living in London and also praying at Finsbury Park.
Ujaama, 36, who was born James Thompson and is a convert to Islam, worked on the website of Supporters of Shariah, Hamza's political group. He also used the name Bilal Ahmed while in London.
A confidential FBI document alleges that Ujaama, acting on Hamza's behalf, delivered laptop computers to the Taliban. It also alleges that he organised the training camp "in concert" with Hamza. Ujaama is a prominent activist and the founder of a website that campaigns against US conduct in the war on terrorism and lists offices in Los Angeles, London and Karachi, Pakistan.
Ujaama was arrested by the FBI in Denver on a material witness warrant. Before his arrest he issued a statement denying that he was a terrorist and claiming that the FBI was conducting "a bogus investigation".
His arrest followed the detention of Semi Osman, 32, a mechanic from Sierra Leone who travels on a British passport and was the preacher at a now-closed mosque in Seattle, where Ujaama worshipped.
When he was arrested Osman is said to have had articles written by Hamza in his possession. He is being held on immigration and firearms charges but has not been accused of terrorist offences.
Hamza, who has had his financial assets frozen by order of the Bank of England and been named by the US Treasury as a terrorist financier, confirmed that he knew Ujaama.
He said: "He was the webmaster of our website and worked as a volunteer but we lost contact.
"I have no knowledge of any such training camp. There are a lot of such training camps in America - if that is the only accusation against me it is not very severe."
Hamza said he had "no idea" about the alleged delivery of computers to Afghanistan by Ujaama and did not recognise the name of Semi Osman
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