At the Jewish Chronicle, David Rose reports on the growing number of extremist imams in the U.K. using their pulpits to advocate for Hamas and celebrate the slaughter of Jews:
A wave of brazen support for Hamas has swept Britain since the October 7 massacre both in radical mosques and on social media channels with huge audiences, the JC can reveal.
Extremist imams in Bradford and Manchester have used their pulpits to openly attack Jews and lead prayers for a Hamas victory, with one asking Allah to “purify” the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem from “the filth of the Jews”.
And London-based broadcasters Moataz Matar and Osama Gaweesh celebrated the Hamas atrocities on October 7. Matar, who has more than four million subscribers, called it “a day filled with pride and glory”.
On October 7, the day terrorists butchered Israeli women and children, Imam Shahid Ali of Jamia Islamia Rizva in Bradford wrote a post asking Allah to “grant victory to the Muslims of Palestine”. Later, he gave a sermon addressing the leaders of the world’s 57 Muslim countries, saying: “Oh brothers, soldiers of the Muslim armies, it is your duty to defend the holy land.”
And on October 13 — five days after the massacres — another imam at the Islam Bradford Centre asked Allah to “purify the Al-Aqsa mosque [in Jerusalem] from the filth of the Jews”.
It also emerged this week that Muhammad Sawalha, who is widely accused of being Hamas’s former West Bank military chief, is living in a former council house he purchased from the London borough of Barnet – a borough where thousands of Jews live.
Among the most shocking evidence the JC has uncovered are the statements celebrating the atrocities by three Egyptian broadcasters given refuge in Britain after fleeing Egypt when the Muslim Brotherhood government of Mohammed Morsi fell in 2013.
This newspaper revealed in April that two of them, Moataz Matar and Osama Gaweesh, had been exploiting their safe haven in London to deliver a steady stream of antisemitic propaganda – described by them as “a jihad of words” – which glorified terrorist violence to millions of viewers and social media followers.
In a video posted on the October 7, the day the attacks took place, Matar told his more than 4 million YouTube subscribers that it was “the happiest day of my life… a day filled with pride and glory”, describing the perpetrators of the attacks as “heroes who surprised us”.
He added: “One of the most wonderful things that I personally observed is the number of the captives… The Israeli captives are going to restrain Israel’s response… the badge of pride today is very large.” He said he sent his “greetings to the resistance”.
Gaweesh, who supported Morsi’s attempt to mount an Islamic revolution in Egypt, hosts a programme on the Mekameleen satellite TV channel and has posted photos of him meeting Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza. Having fled initially to Turkey after Morsi was ousted, he obtained political asylum in Britain in 2018.
Following numerous earlier statements supporting Hamas terrorism that JC revealed six months ago, in one recent broadcast he praised a statement praising this month’s attacks from al-Azhar university in Egypt, the Sunni Muslim world’s highest religious authority which issues fatwas observed by many millions. It said “we proudly support the resistance”.
According to Gaweesh, the statement was “great, very strong, and represents the views of the majority of Egyptians”.
In another broadcast, screened on October 14, he quoted Haniyeh saying “the Palestinian resistance is making history” and that “Al-Aqsa flood”, Hamas’s name for the attacks, “represents the beginning of the removal of the occupation”. On social media, Gaweesh has claimed that suggestions Hamas killed babies or took Holocaust survivors and pregnant women hostage are “propaganda lies”.
Gaweesh is also the founder of Egypt Watch, a website that opposes the Egyptian government led by Morsi’s successor, Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi. In 2021 this partnered with former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s Peace and Justice Project to host a conference on the Egyptian arms trade, which was addressed by Corbyn and Leeds Labour MP Richard Burgon.
Mohammed Naseraly, a third London-based Egyptian broadcaster who also presents programmes on the Mekameleen channel, has described the atrocities as “a flood that has drowned the occupation”, adding that it was mounted by “the resistance”.
Since the attacks, mosques across Britain, many of them registered charities, have hosted sermons from imams glorifying the murders, and posted recordings of them – seen by the JC – on social media. One among many is Redbridge in northeast London, where last week’s Friday prayers ended with an imam asking for “victory” over “the cursed Jews”.
He asked Allah to “scatter them and rip their groups apart and destroy their houses and homes, bring them down and punish them like criminals… make Muslims get their victory over the usurping Jews”.
Two of the worst examples come from mosques in Bradford. On October 13, one imam at the Islam Bradford Centre, a registered charity, asked Allah to “purify the Al-Aqsa mosque [in Jerusalem] from the filth of the Jews”.
He added: “Shake the ground from under their feet and instil terror in their hearts. Gd make of them an example for Muslims. Allah may you have mercy on the Muslims, you hear our prayers and you answer us. Allah, get rid of the unjust Jews. Count them in numbers, and kill them entirely. Don’t spare one of them.”
At the nearby Jamia Islamia Rizva, also a charity, imam Shahid Ali posted on Facebook on October 7, asking Allah to “grant victory to the Muslims of Palestine”. Later he recorded a speech calling on the leaders of the world’s 57 Muslim countries to attack Israel saying: “Oh brothers, soldiers of the Muslim armies, it is your duty to defend the holy land. It is the duty of the Muslim leaders to carry out the command of jihad. They must carry out military action” and “rise to defend the mujahideen”.
Meanwhile, at the Alfurqan Centre in Manchester, another imam prayed last Friday for “the victory of the mujahideen fighting Israel, the enemy of Allah and Islam” and asked Allah to “protect them from the usurping Jews”.