Abu Hamza was the imam of Finsbury Park Mosque in London. He preached militant Islamism, Islamic fundamentalism, and jihadism. Hamza is on trial in the U.S. with several charges of terrorism.
Hamza told his followers that they had a religious obligation to kill.
Ian McGinley, assistant district attorney for New York’s southern district, delivered the prosecution’s closing speech. He said that Hamza “jumped at opportunities across the globe” for the purpose of jihad. McGinley also stated that 56-year-old Hamza dedicated his life to violent jihad by speaking about it, and living it.
“Don’t be fooled by his testimony,” McGinley said to the jury. He went on to say Hamza was selling a version of himself when he was on the witness box. In the courtroom, Hamza remained calm and collected – far from his persona when speaking about jihad, where he was passionate and was showing his true self.
In the courtroom, Hamza said he was misunderstood. He also said that he was only being used as a “mouthpiece” for rebel groups. “He told us in this courtroom that he still loved Osama bin Laden,” said McGinley.
In the closing statement, McGinley also showed TV interviews, sermons, and the knife, gas mask, and camouflage uniforms that were found at a camp where Hamza supposedly taught his followers to fight. To finish his statement, McGinley said, “It is long past the time that he was held responsible for the death and terror that he caused.”
Hamza’s attorney, Jeremy Schneider, said that the prosecution was concentrating on his words and not his actions. “It’s not about what he said in the 1990s, it’s what he did.”
Hamza is facing charges for providing support to terrorist groups, providing a satellite phone to kidnappers, and organizing a hostage taking. He has pleaded not guilty to all the charges. If convicted, Hamza could be sentenced to life imprisonment.
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