Right-wing protesters in clashes with police at mosque

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Right-wing protesters waving Union flags clashed with police and Muslims during Friday prayers outside a north London mosque yesterday.

Right-wing protesters waving Union flags clashed with police and Muslims during Friday prayers outside a north London mosque yesterday.

About 20 men jeered and shouted anti-Muslim slogans outside the Finsbury Park mosque where the radical cleric Abu Hamza preached before his arrest last month. Scuffles broke out after some of the protesters, who claimed to be from a group called the United British Alliance, broke out from behind fences set up by police to keep them separate from the worshippers. The clashes were quickly broken up and prayers were allowed to continue as protesters sang "Rule Britannia".

The mosque has been closed since January last year after it was linked to al-Qa'ida fanatics, including the shoebomber Richard Reid and the so-called 20th hijacker of 11 September, Zacarias Moussaoui. After its closure, Abu Hamza held Friday prayer meetings in the street outside.

Chief Superintendent Barry Norman, Islington's borough commander, said an extra 60 officers had been drafted in and security fences had been erected to prevent further trouble.

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