Abu Hamza offered London base to Taliban

Abu Hamza

The hate preacher Abu Hamza planned to open an office for the Taliban at the Finsbury Park mosque in north London and send up to 3,000 supporters to Afghanistan, according to court papers.

The recruits were described as “devout Muslims” who wanted to pledge their allegiance in person to Mullah Omar, the one-eyed Taliban leader.

A key aide to Abu Hamza raised the plans in a letter to a Taliban chief just three days after the 9/11 attacks.

The letter is among prosecution exhibits filed at a courthouse in New York where the radical cleric has been on trial for terrorism-related offences.

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The trial jury is expected to deliver its verdict as early as tomorrow. If found guilty, Abu Hamza faces life behind bars at a maximum security American prison.

Other prosecution documents seen by The Sunday Times include the preacher’s phone contacts, which read like a Who’s Who of notorious extremists.

The plan to open a Taliban office in London is outlined in a letter from James Ujaama, a US-born convert sent by Abu Hamza to Afghanistan, to Wakil Ahmad Muttawakil, the then Taliban foreign minister.

The letter, dated September 14, 2001, refers to Abu Hamza’s attempts to contact Muttawakil directly and a desire by the preacher’s organisation, the Supporters of Shariah, to help the Taliban.

Ujaama wrote: “We are not a very large organisation . . . however, we have supporters all around the world who are devout Muslims and have given their bayat [oath of allegiance] to Amir al-Mumineen [Mullah Omar], the Islamic Emirate and to Taliban. In fact, 3,000 Supporters of Shariah members are waiting for us to respond on how they can travel to personally give bayat.

“We have even made provisions for Taliban to have an office in our London masjid [mosque] and give advice to those who want to make hijrah [travel to Afghanistan]; give their zakat [charity] and do work to help the emirate.

“Sheikh Abu Hamza has personally given me the authority to offer whatever you want from us in assistance in helping the emirate.”

Abu Hamza has been accused at the trial of using Finsbury Park mosque as a base for spreading global terror. He denies all the charges and has argued that he acted as an intermediary between MI5 and Islamist fanatics to “keep the streets of London safe”.