Radical UK Mosque Leader Also Represents Hamas Abroad
A trustee of a well-known British mosque with ties to extremism is also an official with Hamas’ political bureau, reports Britain’s The Times.
Mohammed Sawalha, a trustee of the Finsbury Park Mosque in London since 2010, recently represented a Hamas delegation to Moscow in September.
“[The mosque] has no relationship with Hamas,” a mosque statement said. In his role, Sawalha is legally responsible for overseeing the mosque’s management.
A recent study shows that nearly a fifth of UK jihadists attended sermons by Islamist clerics at Finsbury Park Mosque, including Abu Hamza al-Masri, a radical imam suspended in 2002, who continued to offer radical sermons outside the mosque’s gates.
The UK only bans Hamas’ military wing from operating in the country. Therefore, Sawalha’s Hamas-related political activities are not illegal.
The United States, European Union and Canada, among others, designate Hamas as a terrorist organization in its entirety for its role in actively targeting and killing Israeli civilians.
In 2008, Sawalha was named in US court documents for being “in charge of Hamas terrorist operations in the West Bank.” He also met with two men who reportedly helped launder millions of dollars to the terrorist organization.
According to The Times report, Sawalha directed the Islam Expo for almost a decade, “which promoted Islamic lifestyles.” Additionally, he was a previous director of the Muslim Association of Britain — a Muslim Brotherhood affiliate.
Hamas has a long history of cultivating political bases of operations in Western democracies. Hamas’ current deputy leader, Mousa Abu Marzook, established an extensive network in the United States devoted to supporting Hamas’ terrorist activities. Marzook was instrumental in providing initial funds to the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) — a Hamas-affiliated charity set up as a front organization to assist the terrorist organization.
Marzook accompanied Sawalha in the recent Hamas visit to Moscow.