Anger as Finsbury Park Mosque is included in terrorism list

The Finsbury Park Mosque

The Finsbury Park Mosque - Credit: Archant

A terrorism blacklist has named Finsbury Park Mosque as a potential risk, years after its links with extremism were stamped out.

Finsbury Park Mosque chairman, Mohammed Kozbar

Finsbury Park Mosque chairman, Mohammed Kozbar - Credit: Archant

It has been listed – along with a handful of other British Muslim organisations – on a database called World-Check, which is owned by news agency Thomson Reuters.

The revelations came in a BBC Radio 4 documentary in which journalist Peter Oborne was given access to the list, and found Finsbury Park Mosque’s classification was due to its previous affiliation with radical preacher Abu Hamza in the 1990s and its alleged links to the 7/7 London bombings and shoe bomb terrorist Richard Reid.

But the mosque in St Thomas’ Road, which reopened in 2005 under new chairman Mohammed Kozbar, has worked tirelessly to distance itself from its radical past and was recently described by Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn as a “wonderful community asset”.

Mr Kozbar vowed to start a legal fight to have the mosque removed from the list, saying: “We are all deeply shocked by this latest news. Despite all the hard work we have put in in engaging with the local community and creating a cohesive atmosphere, it’s been thrown back in our face and damaged our reputation and credibility.”

He added: “We never thought that Finsbury Park Mosque was still considered a ‘terrorist organisation’. I don’t know how they describe a terrorist place or organisation.

“So the 2,000 people from our community and the wider community who come and attend – the police, the council, and our local MP who comes and gives his surgeries here – are they all terrorists?”

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The placing of the mosque on the list may go some way to explaining the mystery behind why its account with HSBC bank was mysteriously frozen a year ago.

Banks use guidance like this as, under current rules, they face high fines or even criminal proceedings if they are seen to be facilitating the operations of suspected or proven terrorist organisations.

A spokesman for Thomson Reuters said World-Check is one of several services aggregating financial crime data from the global public domain – including institutions such as the Treasury and UN – as well as more than 400 government sanction, watch, regulatory and law enforcement lists that financial institutions require.

He continued: “World-Check also collates law enforcement, regulatory enforcement and other publicly available information from reputable sources in order to help clients comply with anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing regulations.

“Customers can then use this data to follow their own regulatory compliance policies and procedures.”

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