FINSBURY PARK Mosque, which has a history of links to terrorism worldwide, has tried in recent years to change its image to the outside world under new management.
The mosque, which is housed in a five-storey building next to Finsbury Park tube station in the London borough of Islington in north London, was opened in 1994 in a ceremony attended by Prince Charles.
The mosque became notorious when Abu Hamza al-Masri became the imam in 1997. Hamza, who had one eye and no hands and used hook devices, lied that the injuries were suffered when he fought for al-Qaeda against Russian forces in Afghanistan.
He preached a strict interpretation of Islamic law and was outspoken about acts of terrorism.
In a sermon he spoke about the need for Jihad: “Allah likes those who believe in Him who kill those who do not believe in Him. Allah likes that. So if you Muslims don’t like that because you hate the blood, there is something wrong with you.”
The mosque became a meeting point for militant Islam’s most notorious figures. Zacarias Moussaoui, 9/11’s alleged 20th hijacker, and shoe bomber Richard Reid, were among those to attend the mosque.
Hazam was suspended from Finsbury Park Mosque in April 2002 and sacked in February 2003 by the Charity Commission, a government body that regulates charities in England and Wales.
More than 100 officers from London Metropolitan Police raided and shut down the mosque in 2003 over the alleged bioterrorism plot to attack the London Underground rail system.