Abu Hamza al-Masri

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Abu Hamza Al-Masri [Abu Hamza the Egyptian], also known as Mustafa Kamel was born in Alexandria, Egypt, and emigrated to London in the 1980s. He studied civil engineering, married a British woman, whom he later divorced but through whom he gained British citizenship, becoming employed as a civil engineer in Sandhurst, according to Yotam Felder of the Middle East Media Research Institute. [1]


His interest in radical Islamist causes started in the 1980s, as he met mujahideen who had fought in the Afghanistan War (1978-1992).[2] Eventually, he traveled to Afghanistan to fight against the Soviets as a civil engineer and fought with the mujahideen against the Najibullah regime until he lost both hands and one eye in a landmine explosion.

During the war in Afghanistan, he met Zein Al-'Abidin "Abu Hassan" Al-Mihdar, who later established the Aden-Abyan Islamic Army. There are mixed reports if he did, or did not, live in Yemen, which he denied. [3]

Before his imprisonment, he lived in North London, where he heads an organization called Ansar Al-Shari'a ("Supporters of Shari'a"). Abu Hamza is also the imam of the Finsbury Park Mosque in North London. During the 1990s, Abu Hamza and his Supporters of Shari'a were considered the propagandists of the Armed Islamic Group (GIA, Groupe Islamic Arme) in Europe.

Aftermath of the 9-11 Attacks

Two days after the September 11 attacks, the Italian daily La Repubblica reported that the Italian domestic security service [4](SISDE) had discovered a plot to attack U.S. President George W. Bush during the G-8 summit in Genoa. The SISDE document speaks of a meeting at the Finsbury Park mosque on June 29, 2001, attended by Abu Hamza; a man known as Mustafa Melki, who has links to Abu Doha, a key al-Qaeda figure recently arrested in London; and a certain Omar. During the meeting, "Abu Hamza proposed an ambitious but unlikely plot which involved attacks carried out by planes," but the document dismissed the plan as potentially "unsuccessful" because of its complexity. The Italian document concluded: "The belief that Osama bin Laden is plotting an attack is spreading among the radical Islamic groups."[5]

Arrest and trial

According to his British lawyer, Edward Fitzgerald, in 2004, he is probably the most frequently abused and ridiculed figure in this country. [6]

Serving a British imprisonment for inciting hatred,[7] he has been fighting extradition to the U.S. for trial. [8]


  1. Yotam Feldner, "Abu Hamza Al-Masri", Jewish Virtual Library
  2. Christian Science Monitor, September 27, 2001, quoted in Feldner
  3. Al-Ayyam (Yemen), August 8, 1999, quoted in Feldner
  4. Comparable to the British Security Service or MI5
  5. http://dsc.discovery.com/news/briefs/20010910/abroad.html
  6. Dominic Casciani (27 May 2004), "Profile: Abu Hamza", BBC News
  7. Lizette Alvarez (20 October 2004), "Britain Charges Muslim Cleric Sought by U.S.", New York Times
  8. John Burns (24 July 2008), "Extremist Cleric in Britain Moves Closer to U.S. Trial", New York Times