A trustee at one of London’s best-known – and controversial—mosques has been exposed as a senior leader in the terrorist organization Hamas, the Daily Mail reported.
Mohammed Sawalha is responsible for overseeing the Finsbury Park Mosque’s management. It emerged that he was also one of five senior Hamas members who traveled to Moscow in September to meet with Russian government officials.
The Finbury Park Mosque was known for its extremism from 1997 to 2005 when its imam was Abu Hamza Al-Misri, an Egyptian radical who was extradited to the U.S. and is now serving a life sentence without parole after being convicted of 11 charges of terrorism by a federal jury.
Abu Hamza was also found guilty in the UK of 16 charges of inciting violence and racial hatred.
The Finbury Part Mosque’s website claims followers of Abu Hamza were ousted by the mosque community in 2005 and since then, “with the support of the local Muslim community, there has been a complete overhaul of the mosque’s leadership, comprising of a new board of trustees, management team, Imams, and a new ethos.”
The exposure of Sawalha runs contrary to these pronouncements. However, legally, the UK is powerless to act against Sawalha, since the UK only designates Hamas’ military wing as a terrorist organization and not its political wing. Sawalha is affiliated with Hamas’ political arm.
UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn visited the mosque a number of times and appears in pictures with Sawalha. At one point, Corbyn called Hamas (and Hezbollah) “friends.” He later walked back on that language.
The entire Hamas organization was designated by the U.S. as a foreign terrorist organization in 1997.
In May, 2017, Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal announced the organization would end its association with the Brotherhood, which Reuters termed “a move apparently aimed at improving ties with Gulf Arab states and Egypt, which view the Brotherhood as a terrorist group.”
However, after the announcement was made, the Egyptian Brotherhood insisted that the two were still connected.