Tags: Emerging Threats | Middle East | War on Terrorism | finsbury | hamas | sawalha

Radical UK Mosque Leader Also Represents Hamas Abroad

Image: Radical UK Mosque Leader Also Represents Hamas Abroad
Palestinians celebrated the release of Mohammed Sawalha, center, in Azmout village near Nablus in the West Bankon Aug. 14, 2013. At the time, Israel released 26 Palestinian inmates, including many convicted in killings, on the eve of long-stalled Mideast peace talks. (Nasser Ishtayeh/AP)

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Friday, 10 Nov 2017 01:55 PM Current | Bio | Archive

A trustee of a well-known British mosque with ties to extremism is also an official with Hamas' political bureau, reports Britain's The Times.

Mohammed Sawalha, a trustee of the Finsbury Park Mosque in London since 2010, represented a Hamas delegation to Moscow in September.

"British charity and has no relationship with Hamas," a mosque statement said. In his role, Sawalha is legally responsible for overseeing the mosque's management.

A recent study shows that nearly a fifth of UK jihadists attended sermons by Islamist clerics at Finsbury Park Mosque, including Abu Hamza al-Masri, a radical imam suspended in 2002 who continued to offer radical sermons outside the mosque's gates.

The UK only bans Hamas' military wing from operating in the country. Therefore, Sawalha's Hamas-related political activities are not illegal.

The U.S., EU, and Canada, among others, designate Hamas as a terrorist organization in its entirety for its role in actively targeting and killing Israeli civilians.

In 2008, Sawalha was named in U.S. court documents for being "in charge of Hamas terrorist operations in the West Bank." He also met with two men who reportedly helped launder millions of dollars to the terrorist organization.

According to The Times report, Sawalha directed the Islam Expo for almost a decade, "which promoted Islamic lifestyles" and was a previous director of the Muslim Association of Britain – a Muslim Brotherhood affiliate.

Hamas has a long history of cultivating political bases of operations in Western democracies. Hamas' current deputy leader, Mousa Abu Marzook, established an extensive network in the United States devoted to supporting Hamas' terrorist activities. Marzook was instrumental in providing initial funds to the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) – a Hamas affiliated charity set up as a front organization to assist the terrorist organization.

Marzook accompanied Sawalha in the recent Hamas visit to Moscow.

Steven Emerson is executive director of The Investigative Project on Terrorism. He was a correspondent for CNN and a senior editor at U.S. News and World Report. Read more reports from Steve Emerson — Click Here Now.

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The U.S., EU, and Canada, among others, designate Hamas as a terrorist organization in its entirety for its role in actively targeting and killing Israeli civilians.
finsbury, hamas, sawalha
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2017-55-10
Friday, 10 Nov 2017 01:55 PM
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