LONDON - Muslim cleric Abu Hamza
al-Masri wanted a caliph sitting in the White House and said Hitler was
sent into the world because Jews were blasphemous and dirty, a London
court heard on Wednesday.
Hamza, 47, is the most high-profile figure to go on trial in Britain on charges of incitement to murder and stirring up racial hatred since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on Washington and New York.
Interest in the case has increased since suicide bombings on London's transport system last July killed 52 people.
Prosecutor David Perry said the Egyptian-born cleric used public meetings at the Finsbury Park mosque in north London and private meetings to incite his followers to kill non-Muslims.
"The prosecution case is, in one sentence, that Sheik Abu Hamza was preaching murder and hatred in these talks," Perry told the Old Bailey court.
"He makes calls for a world dominated by a caliph, sitting, as he puts it, in the White House," Perry said.
"In one of his lectures, he accused the Jews of being blasphemous, treacherous and dirty. This, because of their treachery and their blasphemy and their filth, was why Hitler was sent into the world," Perry said.
Hamza faces nine counts of using public meetings to incite his followers to kill non-Muslims and four other charges that he urged the killing of Jews.
He is also accused of using threatening, abusive or insulting behavior with intent to stir up racial hatred, along with one charge of possessing threatening, abusive or insulting sound recordings, and another count under anti-terrorism laws.
Hamza has denied all the charges.
The charges relate to nine video tapes seized when Hamza was arrested on May 27, 2004. Eight were at his home and one was at another address. The tapes were among 2,700 audio and 570 video tapes seized.
The first recording the jury were to hear, Perry said, was made at what the prosecution believed to be a private meeting in Whitechapel, east London, in 1997 or 1998.
"The defendant says that Muslims living in this country are living in a toilet -- they are living like animals," Perry said. "He calls on his audience to sacrifice themselves in order to establish the caliphate."
Perry said Hamza also had in his possession "The Encyclopedia of Afghani Jihad" that ran for 10 volumes.
"It was a manual that would assist any person who was likely to be involved in the preparation or actual carrying out of terrorism activity," he added.
He said the manual explained how to make explosives and gave detailed instructions on assassination methods.
Perry told the jury they would hear how Hamza told his followers it was their "religious duty to fight in the cause of Allah, God."
The prosecutor said Hamza had frequently made clear that leaders of Arab nations who were friendly to the West and Israel were legitimate targets.
Perry said he criticized Saudi Arabia as a country "that has been stolen by an evil family", a reference to the Saudi royal family.
"The real reason he criticizes that country is because it has links with the United States and links with Europe," Perry said.
If found guilty, Hamza, who has lost both hands and an eye, faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.
The trial is expected to last three weeks.