Abu Hamza al-Masri, the radical Muslim cleric who is currently being tried in Manhattan Federal Court, was heard on tape discussing his reaction to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack that left nearly 3,000 Americans dead and more than 6,000 injured.
In the excerpts, which were taken from an interview with a Canadian broadcaster prior to his arrest, the 55-year-old Islamic extremist who once called Osama bin Laden a "hero" is heard saying, "Everybody was happy when the planes hit the World Trade Center."
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"Anybody who tell you he was not happy, they are hypocrites," Hamza continued. "All Muslims are happy, even non-Muslims are happy."
The deranged cleric referred to the World Trade Center as a legitimate target because "it's the center of evil . . . political and financial evil for the whole world," Britain's Sky News reported
On the tape, Hamza proceeded to compare al-Qaida to a hero in a western movie saying, "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 was charged with 11 counts of terrorism in 2012, which included his alleged involvement in the 1998 kidnapping of 16 Westerners in Yemen — two of whom were Americans — and his attempt to form a terrorist training facility in rural Oregon, CNN reported
. The Egyptian-born radical cleric pleaded not guilty to all 11 counts.
Hamza is known for his appearance — he lost one eye and both hands in an explosion while fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan. He is often pictured wearing hooks in place of his hands.
Hamza's attorneys initially attempted to prevent the tape from being heard in court, arguing it would turn the jury against their client. However, Judge Katherine Forrest rejected the request, claiming "the defendant is charged with just those sorts of crimes," Sky News noted.
In October 2012, Hamza, along with four cohorts who are also accused of terrorism, were extradited to the United States from Britain
Hamza had been a prominent imam at London's Finsbury Park Mosque, where he reportedly promoted Sharia Law and preached for a new Islamic caliphate and for the destruction of Western-backed Middle Eastern regimes.
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