Magazine article The Middle East

Comment: As the Middle East Went to Press Two Men Dominated the Court Pages of National Newspapers in Britain, Both of Them Accused of Crimes of Race Hate

Magazine article The Middle East

Comment: As the Middle East Went to Press Two Men Dominated the Court Pages of National Newspapers in Britain, Both of Them Accused of Crimes of Race Hate

Article excerpt

At The Old Bailey in London, is 47-year-old Muslim cleric Abu Hamza Al Masri, who denies 14 charges of attempting to stir up racial hatred and one charge of owning a "manual of terror", which allegedly gives details "of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism". Al Masri denies all the charges against him.

At Leeds Crown Court in the north of England, Nick Griffin, Cambridge University graduate and leader of the British National Party, which largely bases its political manifesto on race and immigration, is answering 12 similar race-motivated charges.

Both men have made outrageous and inflammatory remarks over recent years, both have unquestionably been responsible for igniting strong passions among their followers, frequently resulting in violence and very probably, worse.

Reports of the trials appear in the newspapers and other media every day. Both are equally sickening.

Egyptian-born Abu Hamza Al Masri has stood in the dock and named those he describes as the "six enemies" of Muslims as firstly, "the tyrants and apostates of our leaders; Jews number two, Christians number three, evil scholars of Muslims number four, hypocrites number five, ignorance of our Umma (the Muslim community) number six."

In a video shown to the jury, Al Masri says in a sermon to his followers that Muslims can never have peace with Jews because Allah has placed enmity among them until judgement day. "They are enemies to one another and Allah has cursed them," (the Jews) he said. "This is why he sent Hitler for them."

It is desperately tempting to believe that these are the ramblings of a mad man and, while Al Masri may well be mad, the poison he espouses has gained him many followers, especially among Britain's young, poor, unemployed and socially disadvantaged Muslim community.

Meanwhile, at Leeds Crown Court, the jury at the trial of the BNP's Nick Griffin watched secretly filmed tirades by him against Muslims and Asians. …

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