How much trouble can one find in a single mosque?
Plenty when we’re talking about the Noor mosque in Acton, west London. Its name is Arabic for light but its stories are very dark indeed.
This week it was finally revealed to the public that the mosque’s former main man, Khalid Rashad, ordered the murder of Abdul Hadi Arwani in London in April 2015. Arwani was a Syrian imam who left the mosque after a power struggle.
Rashad was also found guilty of illegal possession of explosives and ammunition.
The Metropolitan Police searched the mosque as part of their investigation into the murder of Mr Arwani
It has also emerged that Rashad refused to help MI5 in 2012, when the mosque was of interest. This was a point of pride, not shame.
Rashad, the director of the An Noor Cultural Centre in Acton, West London, said he was asked to come to a building in Whitehall and ‘invited to become an operative.’
‘One of the things was that I was the leader of an Islamic community in West London and they would like to have someone like me on their books,’ he said.
He refused, however, telling the jury: ‘I think it would have been perfidious of me to take on that responsibility. It would have been deceitful to the people I’m serving, I would have been a hypocrite.’
No wonder the spooks were concerned. Recall the news in 2013, when terror suspect Mohammed Ahmed Mohamed slipped into the mosque, donned a burqa, exited, and disappeared from the radar.
In the same year the Evening Standard reported that Uthman Mustafa Kamal, one of Abu Hamza’s sons, was preaching for jihad at the Noor mosque.
All of this is no surprise. Some of the very worst hate preachers have frequented the mosque for a decade now. They include familiar names here – Khalid al-Fikri, Haitham al-Haddad, Assim al-Hakeem, Shakeel Begg, Sulaiman Ghani, Waseem Kempson, Murtaza Khan, Uthman Lateef, Abdullah Hakim Quick, Raed Salah, Khalid Yasin, and Hussain Yee.
The Egyptian preacher Khalid al-Fikri is particularly alarming and still a regular preacher at the mosque these days, even serving on its council.
This clip of al-Fikri at the Noor mosque will give you a measure of the man. Just days after the murder of the US Ambassador to Libya in September 2012 during the furious reaction to the “Innocence of Muslims” film, al-Fikri thought it would be a good idea to shout about defending the prophet of Islam as a duty. Namely, with blood and sacrifice, using “all the means to send the message to the American people”, for ”that’s enough of talking, we are not women”.
Mr al-Fikri has a very impressive record in hate preaching. Indeed, he goes as far as one can – here he is on a march for Osama bin Laden in London in 2011, which was led by Anjem Choudary’s horrid crew. Fikri speaks up for Omar Abdel-Rahman, the spiritual leader of the New York bomb plotters of the early 1990s. Abdel-Rahman was convicted of seditious conspiracy and sentenced to life in prison. Fikri also bellows for Ali al-Tamimi and Aafia Siddiqui in the clip. America rightly prosecuted and convicted both of them for very serious offences.
London would be a better place if the Noor mosque closed its doors forever.
That’s very unlikely. Instead the mosque may well be at the heart of more bad news in future.