'Moderate' London Mosque Official Exposed as Hamas Terrorist Leader
A London mosque recently hailed as a model of moderation after being led for years by a now-convicted terrorist finds itself in a new row, as one of its current leaders has been exposed as a senior Hamas terrorist.
The Finsbury Park Mosque was notorious before and after 9/11 as a former al-Qaeda guesthouse led by hook-handed Abu Hamza. He is currently serving time in U.S. federal prison on terror charges. According to UK and U.S. media, the Finsbury Park Mosque had since shed its extremist past and embraced "moderation," even becoming a "beacon of anti-radicalization." Those media pronouncements now appear premature:
The Daily Mail reports:
A trustee at one of London's best-known mosques is a senior member of "terrorist organisation" Hamas's political wing, it was reported this morning.
Mohammed Sawalha holds the role of trustee at Finsbury Park Mosque in north London, which was formerly linked to extremism but which insists it has since undergone an "complete overhaul".
It emerged today that Mr Sawalha represented the militant Palestinian organisation Hamas at recent talks in Moscow.
Sawalha, who lives in London, was appointed a trustee of the mosque in 2010 and is legally responsible for overseeing the mosque's management, The Times reported today.
He was one of five senior figures from the Islamist organisation who were sent to Moscow in September, where they met Russia's deputy foreign minister Mikhail Bogdanov and other Kremlin officials.
Former U.S. Treasury official Matthew Levitt noted Sawalha's presence in the Hamas delegation several weeks ago:
This is a dramatic blow to the UK political and media establishment, which has repeatedly defended the mosque against charges of harboring extremism. For example, Piers Morgan recently attacked critic Tommy Robinson by claiming the mosque had abandoned its extremist past:
But just a few weeks after those comments, the Finsbury Park Mosque hosted South African imam Ebrahim Bham. He is known for his extremist views, including rabid anti-Semitism and the defense of violent jihad.
And yet, three years ago the mosque was given an award by a community organization for its supposed anti-extremism work.