- Hamza said attacks left Muslims and non-Muslims around the world happy
- Tape played for the jury at his terrorism trial on Monday in New York
- Said World Trade Center was legitimate target because of globalisation role
14:35 EST, 21 April 2014
03:18 EST, 22 April 2014
Abu Hamza told how he ‘happy’ he was about the September 11 attacks
Abu Hamza told how he ‘happy’ he was about the September 11 attacks in a broadcast interview, saying it left Muslims and non-Muslims around the world rejoicing, according to a tape played for the jury at his terrorism trial on Monday.
He did not hesitate when asked about the attack that killed nearly 3,000 people and could be heard casually speaking of the attacks in the undated interview with a Canadian broadcaster, even equating what Al Qaeda did to the hero in American movies.
He is currently on trial in New York after being extradited to the US to face terrorism charges.
‘Everybody was happy when the planes hit the World Trade Center,’ Hamza said in the interview.
‘Anybody who tell you he was not happy, they are hypocrites.’
He said the World Trade Center was a legitimate target because of its role in globalisation.
‘It’s the centre of, of, of evil,’ Hamza said. ‘Political and financial evil for the whole world.’
The interview was played after U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest last week turned down a request by defence lawyers to exclude it from trial on the grounds that it would unfairly prejudice their client.
‘Expressing clear and unequivocal support for terrorism is no doubt prejudicial,’ the judge said.
‘However, the defendant is charged with just those sorts of crimes.’
Hamza, 56, has pleaded not guilty to charges that he conspired to support Al Qaeda by trying to set up a terrorist training camp in 1999 in Oregon.
He also is accused of helping to abduct two American tourists and 14 others in Yemen in 1998. Four hostages died.
He did not hesitate when asked about the attack that killed nearly 3,000 people and could be heard casually speaking of the attacks in the undated interview with a Canadian broadcaster, even equating what Al Qaeda did to the hero in American movies
The tape was played during the testimony of a terrorism investigator for the prosecutor’s office in Manhattan.
‘This is what you teach your people in cowboy films when you see the aggressors being, doing bad things, and then the hero comes and gives him a couple of punches in his face,’ Hamza said during the interview.
‘That’s exactly like this. So I would be hypocrite if I tell you no. All Muslims are happy, even non-Muslims are happy.’
According to the taped interview, Hamza said it was right to use airplanes against those who use planes to ‘oppress nations and kill them and maim them.’
He added: ‘What do you call this when you go and bombard people and kill them by thousands just because you have ability to fly higher?’
In the interview, Hamza also said he agreed with the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen. The attack killed 17 American sailors.
David Smith, one of his former worshippers, said
Hamza was like ‘two different people’ and was able to switch between the
two whenever he wanted – aggressive and outrageous when at the pulpit
but was a ‘nice guy’ when talking amongst his followers.
testimony reveals one of the techniques Hamza used to manipulate his
followers and spread hate in North London at the notorious mosque before
police closed it down in 2003.
cross-examination from Hamza’s lawyer Jeremy Schneider, Mr Smith said
that he first heard Hamza’s preachings on tapes of his sermons that he
bought in Seattle.
The court heard how the radical cleric adopted an aggressive and fiery persona to preach a message of jihad
Abu Hamza is standing trial for terrorism offences at New York Federal Court
Mr Smith was so impressed that in 1999 he flew to London to talk in person to Hamza.
agreed with Mr Schneider that during their 45-minute meeting at the
Finsbury Park mosque that the preacher was a ‘nice guy’ who seemed
Schneider said: ‘Is it fair to say that when you met him [Hamza] and
talked to him personally, it was like two different people, the person
you met and the person you hear on those tapes?’
Mr Smith replied: ‘If you believe like him, yes’.
Mr Schneider suggested that in his sermons Hamza had ‘one personality’ and in private he had a ‘different approach’.
Mr Smith said: ‘If you mean he’s not screaming and hollering at you, yes’.
Mr Schneider asked: ‘When he was at the podium, that’s when he gets fiery?’
Mr Smith replied: ‘Yes’.
This week the trial is due to hear from James Ujaama, a former follower of Hamza from Seattle who moved to London and worshiped at Finsbury Park mosque.
He has been waiting 11 years to testify against Hamza under the terms of a 2003 plea deal which meant he only served two years for terrorism-related offences instead of up to 30.
If convicted of the most serious charges, the Egyptian-born Hamza would face life in prison.
The Finsbury Park mosque, since closed, where Abu Hamza preached to his followers
He previously served several years in prison in Britain for inciting his followers to kill non-believers.
Extradited from Britain in 2012 under the condition that he would be tried in civilian court and not face the death penalty.
Defense lawyers have argued that Hamza, known for his fiery sermons in London, is responsible only for using inflammatory words, not for any overt criminal acts.
Prosecutors intend to use his rhetoric against him via video and audio recordings that show him denouncing non-Muslims and preaching Islamic fundamentalism and encouraging followers to become militants.
Prosecutors also played several other tapes, some in Arabic, for the jurors, who were given English transcripts.
Some of the tapes were seized from the Finsbury Park mosque or from Hamza’s residence.
Hamza lost both hands and one eye in Afghanistan in the 1980s and was known in London for wearing a prosthetic metal hook on his right arm.
In court, he has taken notes with a pen wedged in his hook.
Hamza plans to testify at the trial at Manhattan’s Federal Court which is expected to last about a month.