Jury sees video of Hamza 'preaching murder and hatred'

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The jury in the Old Bailey trial of Abu Hamza has been shown the first of eight recorded sermons in which the Muslim cleric is accused of preaching "murder and hatred" in Britain.

The grainy video at first showed only a dimly lit sports hall with two figures sitting behind microphones. The camera then panned to a white banner bearing the words "al jihad".

The camera then fixed on Mr Hamza, 47, dressed in an Afghan-style woollen cap and traditional long gown. The video showed him deliver an unscripted lecture lasting two hours and 15 minutes, in which he allegedly exhorted his unseen audience to take up arms. Its theme was "the only way to caliphate", a worldwide Islamic government.

Mr Hamza, who listened to the recordings from the dock as one of his legal team used a highlighter pen to mark passages, denies 15 charges, including soliciting to murder and inciting racial hatred.

The footage, among more than 3,000 recordings seized by police during Hamza's arrest in 2004, shows him addressing a private meeting of followers in Whitechapel, east London, on an unknown date in late 1997 or early 1998.

Speaking in English, the cleric tackled issues from the destruction of the "evil" government of Saudi Arabia to the duty of Muslim women to prepare their sons for jihad, which he described as a religious duty to kill kuffars, non-believers.

He paused only to take occasional sips of water. The banner behind him which listed Afghanistan, Algeria, Egypt, Kashmir and Tunisia with the slogan: "The best jihad is to speak out against the tyrant ruler."

Asked on film by an unseen questioner about what could be done immediately to establish a "caliphate", Mr Hamza exhorted his audience to train before destroying the "enemies of Allah". He said: "There's no real need to go and train for tanks and aeroplanes. You can't buy these on the market. To be trained of what is available for you, this is number one. Number two, to monitor the targets. Every court is a target and every brothel is a target and everybody who goes into these places to protect them, to invite people to them is a target.

"You have to bleed the enemy, whether you work alone, you work with a group or with your own family. Then after you have done that, obviously, you will be on the run."

Suggesting that fugitives should set up mountain camps to attack non-believers, the preacher concluded: "Forget your differences and start to destruct the enemies of Allah."

During the lecture, one of two filmed meetings shown to the jury yesterday, Mr Hamza initially focuses on the dangers of living among kuffar, likening living in Britain to living in a lavatory. He berated British Muslims for being comfortable living in their adopted or native country, saying acquiescence in concepts such as democracy is haram - forbidden by the Koran - and Muslims taking part in elections carry direct responsibility for the death of their co-religionists in Iraq.

The Egyptian-born cleric, who is a British citizen, said: "It looks like unfortunately we have been forced to be inside a toilet and we have no intention to get out of it.

"And then we start putting fridges and cookers and actually living in that toilet. And we start even praying for Islam and some of us think they can be leaders in that toilet, unfortunately. We are all under the feet and the heavy boots of kuffar."

The prosecution has accused Hamza of using the lectures, given at locations across Britain between 1996 and 2002, to provide a "blueprint" for Islamic living which had at its core the murder and killing of non-believers, in particular Jews.

In the second video, "Adherence to Islam in the Western world", filmed in the living room of a house in Blackburn, the preacher attacked morality in Britain, explaining that the economy was based on "usury, arms sales, prostitution".

He then stated that churches were places of "dancing, iniquity, black magic" and paedophilia where Muslim refugees are converted to Christianity.

During the sermons, the cleric joked about the possible consequences of his words. As one member of the audience started to walk into shot, he signals him away, saying: "Don't sit next to me, otherwise you get 20 years in prison."

The trial continues.