North London Central Mosque
|Finsbury Park Mosque|
|Location||Finsbury Park, London
|Branch/tradition||Sunni – Salafi|
The Finsbury Park Mosque is a mosque located in Finsbury Park, London, England. It was built in the 1990s to serve the large Muslim population in the area. It has the capacity for 1,800 worshipers.
The mosque was affected by leadership disputes in the 1990s, allowing extremist Islamist preachers (many of whom were refugees from the Algerian Civil War) to take it over. In 1996 they installed Abu Hamza al-Masri as imam of the mosque, which subsequently developed a reputation as a centre of radical Islamism in London.
History and location
The main building was opened in 1994 in a ceremony attended by Prince Charles. The mosque is located opposite Finsbury Park station, close to Arsenal Football Club's Emirates Stadium, in the London Borough of Islington.
Beslan school hostage crisis
On 3 October 2004, The Observer revealed that 46-year-old Kamel Rabat Bouralha attended the mosque. Bouralha, with UK citizens Osman Larussi and Yacine Benalia, was loyal to Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev. Basayev has boasted of training the men who took control of the school in Beslan, Russia and wired it with explosives. Investigators believe that the three men, all Algerian-born, travelled to Chechnya from London to take part in fighting there in 2001. Like Bouralha, they are believed to have attended Finsbury Park mosque and to have joined the network of groups loyal to Basayev on arrival in Chechnya.
In 2003, over one hundred armed police raided the building as part of the investigation into the alleged Wood Green ricin plot. Abu Hamza al-Masri was eventually jailed for seven years in 2006 after being convicted of inciting murder and race hate.
Change of leadership
Following the 2003 raid the mosque was reclaimed by mainstream Muslims,[clarification needed] including representatives of the Muslim Association of Britain, who installed a new board of trustees and imam. The mosque now offers courses open to the general public, and weekly attendance has tripled. It is open for public visits, awareness weeks, community open days and it aims to promote Islam as a religion of tolerance and co-operation.
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- BBC News, (15 November 2007). "Abu Hamza could face extradition". British Broadcast Corporation.
- North London Central Mosque Trust - About us
- Neville Dean and Nick Allen, PA (7 February 2006). "Finsbury Park mosque's terrorist roll call". London: The Independent.
- Burke, Jason (17 February 2002). "AK-47 training held at London mosque". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 20 May 2010.
- Global Politician - Finsbury Park: Inside the British Jihad
- "Abu Hamza jailed for seven years". BBC News. 7 February 2006. Retrieved 20 May 2010.
- "The battle for the mosque". BBC News. 7 February 2006. Retrieved 20 May 2010.
- North London Central Mosque Trust - Home
- "The battle for the mosque". BBC. 7 February 2006.
- "Police 'warned on London suspect'". CNN. 7 August 2005.
- Smith, Craig S. (9 July 2005). "At Mosque That Recruited Radicals, New Imam Calls for Help in Catching Bombers". New York Times. Retrieved 20 May 2010.
- "Weapons discovered during London mosque raid". The Guardian. 20 January 2003.
- "Seven questioned after mosque raid". BBC. 20 January 2003.
- "AK-47 training held at London mosque". The Observer. 17 February 2002.
- "london introduction". Public Broadcasting Service.