March 23, 2007


Chief Superintendent Barry Norman is moving on after four years as Islington's Borough Commander. He is leaving to take up a new and challenging role in Violent Crime Directorate.

Mr Norman's time at Islington has seen an 18% drop in crime on the borough. His proudest moments have been the re-opening of North London Mosque, Finsbury Park and overseeing the introduction of community policing throughout the borough.

In an interview for the Islington Gazette, Mr Norman said, "Working with the local authority to get the Finsbury Park mosque open again was probably top of the list.

"It's no longer this iconic place people associate with the difficult things with young Muslims. It's just another community centre and that?s a fantastic achievement.

Do read about my encounters with Barry outside the mosque here


Rachel said...

Hum. I can see that he did a cracking job keeping the peace and I salute him for getting my local Mosque back open. But I wish someone had paid more attention to the Mosque's board of trustees when they tried to evict Hamza, made complaints to the police about what poison he was preaching and that the security services, if not the local cops, had listened to the content of his speeches and watched the young men taking instruction to go abroad and fight - or to train abroad and to bring the fight back here to the streets where Barry's so capably kept the peace.

It might have looked peaceful, and been peaceful as hundreds congregated to hear Hamza preach murder and mayhem. But words can be weapons and parasitical and treasonous ideaologies can have real and deadly effects, turning the nihilistic, the thuggish and the romantically-inclined into deadly weapons of someone else's war.

Please note, this is not an Islamophobic rant. In fact it is the opposite: it is a lament that local Muslim's warning voices were not heeded. Under the benign eye of Barry, those who bravely spoke out were done a disservice. And it is racist to lump all the F. Park Muslims in as one homogenous lump: those gathering to hear violent jihad preached by Hamza were not the same as those decrying the abuse of their Mosque, those who happily are now flocking back into the building to pray in peqce, as the Mosque was built for.

dave bones said...

Thanks for getting back to me.

I suppose if I had just seen the Hamza funneled through the media I would agree with you 100%. Having spent time with Hajj and Abdullah, the two guys either side of him, and having met a few people who aren't in the media spotlight at all who have known him very well for many years, and having met a couple of his sons has all caused me serious concern as to whether the media picture of Hamza is the true one.

I didn't really like him, or get on with him but I would see a description of the entirety of what I heard him say on the street as

"Hate filled rants"

as inaccurate, in that Hamza, (for just one example) was continually preaching against bombing innocents here and -for whatever reason- that wasn't reported.

Now of course his friends would say this is the "Zionist media" at work. It could just be that a "softer" message from someone built up so much as an Islamic terror just isn't exciting enough for those who make money from media to report.

You could also say that Hamza was aware of the contents of the tapes he would be charged with and was softening his tone to try and save himself from jail.

This could of course be true.

From my experience I saw him preach a defensive Islam- a militant one without a doubt, but about defending Muslim lands from aggressors outside. He thanked non-Muslims who were against the war, though I was probably the only one who heard.

I am fully aware of how the video taped messages he was charged with have come across, I sat through as much of his trial as I could get to and argued with those of his young acolytes who came along in the back rooms of the public gallery. I am also aware of events in Yemen.

I'm not sure what to say. Although my project is based on the previous attendees of Finsbury park mosque I am not actually so "Hamza focused" as the rest of the media about him. I always focused on those around him as much as possible.

I know I contacted you following my crazy notion that

"Bloggers (of all political persuasions) will save the world".

You particularly are a blogger with unique first hand experience of Islamic based terror. A friend I used to live with was a victim of 7/7. She left her city job and moved back to Wales. I don't know what to suggest. Would you meet Hajj if I could arrange it maybe?

Hajj is the old guy talking about drugs and stuff in Preachers of Hate

I.:.S.:. said...

So that's why Barry wasn't there on Saturday night with the 60-plus TSG riot cops who blocked all traffic on Holloway Road (down by Highbury corner), or the other ones who sealed off five streets around, all cause of our little party! The senior officer there told me my "intelligence is old... he's moved on to better things..." "What, they promoted him?" I asked. "Sort of..." they said and then refused the joint I offered them.