June 23, 2005


OK. Met Jamal and Samir today. Baking hot in Ladbroke Groove. A Policeman actually offered me a bottle of water as I waited for them outside the tube station. Fucking nice country eh? The brothers whisked me off to Ladbroke Grove mosque, hidden away below the flyover, but still quite a majestic building in a simple London sort of way, standing more or less on its own.

After they prayed I found that the unknown driver of the vehicle was Shahid Butt, a character who had come across "bostin' like" (as they say in Birmingham where he is from) in the recent BBC Documentary Dont panic I'm Islamic. I am always surprised by "fundamentalist" reaction to the name "Socialist Wanker." Shahid laughed a lot- but said he didn't want to appear in it! We went to a fantastic little cafe, hidden away below a main road slipway for buses. It was like something from roadside Pakistan.

He told me that he had met Phil Rees who had made the documentary and built up some trust with him. He was aware of the editing process, Phil had taken about 15 minutes out of a five hour conversation. He was pleased with the results. I found out that the other young stranger who was with us was Mohssin Ghailan, a son of Abu Hamza and Mustapha Kamel's older brother. I had no idea as, unlike Mustapha, he looks nothing like Abu Hamza as he is adopted. He looks about 21 -and nothing like he has done time in a Yemeni jail either. He asked me what sort of questions I would like to ask him.

I told him I wanted to know what it was like growing up, being himself in Britain. He said he wanted to talk about his dad. The "preacher of hate." What he was like as a father. He did not want to be recognisable from the film but was up for doing it.

They had just gone to visit Mr. Hamza and they had much news to report on his condition. Apparently Shahid Butt is a very close friend of the family for many years and used to be involved in the running of Finsbury Park mosque 9 years ago and knows Mr. Hamza better than anyone.

Here is an account of his and Mohssin's trip to Yemen. He told me Hamza has never recruited terrorists and never told people to kill those of other races. He says he knows of no Muslim preacher in Britain who advocates terrorist acts in this country.

As for Mr. Hamza's condition they told me he has lots of infections on his stumps and because he has no access to his hands he is at the mercy of his doctors and the screws. They gave the impression he was in a bad way and believe it is only his Islamic faith which is keeping him going.

They told me of an incident where a completely unrelated white man had punched one of Hamza's medics because they were messing him around. The guy was not a Muslim and apparently spent time in solitary confinement for his trouble. They have a letter that another prisoner inside wrote to the Sun, accusing them of lying about Hamzas situation inside. They told me Hamza is kept away from other prisoners. They are scared of him talking to anyone. Five people have become muslims in Belmarsh as a result of meeting Mr. Hamza.

Apparently Mr. Hamza remembers me well, when they talk to him.

No comments: