Sunday, 30 September 2012

Like father like sons

Like father like sons: Five of Abu Hamza's children convicted of offences ranging from bomb making to attacking police.

Four of hate preacher's sons have already served time behind bars The fifth is awaiting sentence for an armed robbery Only two of his sons, who are all over 18, haven't been in trouble with law Extremist will launch a last-ditch attempt to avoid extradition this week.

Mohammed Mustafa Kamel arrives at London Heathrow airport in 2002 after his three year prison term on terrorism charges in the Yemen city of Aden
Four have already served custodial sentences while the fifth is awaiting sentence for an armed robbery.

Abu Hamza, who is fighting extradition to the U.S., has nine children from two marriages, including a stepson with his second wife.

Of the seven sons, who are all over 18, only two have not been in trouble with the law. The two youngest children are daughters aged 16 and 13.

The preacher was married in 1980 to Valerie Traverso, a British woman, and divorced four years later after having one son, Mohammed.

Hamza has seven children with his second wife, Najat, and a stepson, Mohssin Ghailan, who was born to Najat before she married him.

Mohammed and Ghailan were jailed in Yemen in 1999, when Mohammed was 17, for plotting bomb attacks on tourist and economic targets. They returned to Britain after serving jail terms of three years and seven years respectively.

The two were arrested again in 2008 with their brother Hamza, then aged 22. 

 (Left to right) Hamza Mustafa Kamel, Mohamed Kamel Mostafa and Mohssin Ghailan, the three sons of jailed hook-handed cleric Abu Hamza, who exploited a loophole in the vehicle registration system to carry out a £1million luxury car scam

They were accused of operating a £1million car scam in which they fraudulently obtained documents for luxury cars and either sold them or used them as collateral for loans that were never repaid.

Ghailan, from Shepherd's Bush, west London, was described as a 'key player' in the fraud. He was jailed for four years. Hamza and Mohammed were also jailed.

Their younger brother, Yasser, admitted burglary in 2008 when he stole a laptop. He was given 120 hours' community service. He was then sent to a young offenders institution for 12 months in 2010 for attacking a policeman during protests outside the Israeli embassy in London.

In August this year Abu Hamza's 20-year-old son, Imran, was convicted of a £75,000 armed robbery at a jeweller's shop in King's Lynn, Norfolk. He is due to be sentenced in November.

His two other sons have not been in trouble with the law.

Uthman, 24, is an imam in Acton, west London; his younger brother Sufyan, 18, was named on a poster as attending a charity rally for Syria in February alongside Haithem al-Haddad, a radical preacher.

Uthman recited a prayer outside the American embassy last year during a demonstration in support of Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist who was arrested in Afghanistan on suspicion of links to Al-Qaeda and jailed in the US for 86 years.

Uthman is becoming a well known figure in the west London Muslim community, mainly through his recitals of religious texts which have been described as 'beautiful'.

Donna Traverso, the daughter of Valerie Traverso, told The Times in 2006 that her early memories of Abu Hamza were of a loving stepfather until he turned to fundamentalism.
When her stepbrother Mohammed was three years old, Abu Hamza took him to Egypt to visit family members. Neither she nor her mother saw him again for 16 years.

'He left me without saying goodbye, destroyed my family and told his own son that his mother was dead,' Donna Traverso said.

Mohammed has said he does not agree with his father's radical preaching and is proud to be British. However, when he formed a rap duo, Lionz of Da Dezert, his lyrics praised Hezbollah and Hamas, the armed wings of which are both classified by Britain as terrorist organisations.

The family has also attracted controversy for its cost to Britain. The TaxPayers' Alliance has estimated that Abu Hamza has cost the taxpayer £2.75m in welfare, housing and legal benefits.

At one time, the family was living in a £600,000 five-bedroom council house in Shepherd's Bush and claiming £680 a week in benefits.

Inayat Bunglawala, of the Muslims4UK group, told The Sunday Times: 'It is sad to see that some of Abu Hamza's children have been convicted of criminal acts.

'It is an extremely poor legacy... one can only hope his children at least may be able to shake off the negative influences and begin to rebuild their lives.' 


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