A London mosque is under investigation over alleged links to terrorism.
The Charity Commission has launched a probe into Masjid-al-Tawhid — next to the Olympics site — amid concerns that it may be promoting extremist Islamist ideologies.
The investigation is understood to centre on sermons delivered at the mosque between 2004 and 2010 by Haitham al-Haddad, a preacher by whom notorious “underpants bomber” Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab claims he was influenced.
The Leyton mosque, which propagates the extremist Salafi strand of Islam widely practised in Saudi Arabia, has also hosted several leading al Qaeda clerics in the past, including Abu Qatada and Anwar al-Awlaki.
In a letter leaked to the Standard and the BBC, the Charity Commission last week announced a “statutory inquiry” into Masjid-al-Tawhid. “The investigation will look at whether the trustees have allowed individuals with potential links to terrorist organisations to use the charity to promote and/or express extremist views and ideologies and/or controversial points of view,” it wrote.
Nigerian-born Abdulmutallab, 25, a London student who tried to detonate explosives hidden his underwear on a flight to Detroit on Christmas Day in 2009, was jailed for life by a US court in February. He has cited Haitham al-Haddad as an influence on his beliefs.
In 1998, radical cleric Abu Qatada, described as Osama Bin Laden’s “right-hand man in Europe”, held a study session at the mosque. He is now in custody in the UK fighting extradition to Jordan to face terrorism charges. Anwar al-Awlaki, an al Qaeda leader killed in Yemen last year, spoke several times at Masjid-al-Tawhid in 2003.
Former imam Dr Usama Hasan resigned from the mosque after 25 years last year after receiving death threats for teaching his congregation about evolution and women’s rights.
He said today: “These are very serious allegations and it is concerning that alleged links to terrorism have emerged so close to the Olympic site. The Charity Commission should pursue a full investigation to help the mosque congregation and its trustees deal with extremism and promote a moderate and inclusive Muslim community.”
Masjid-al-Tawhid did not respond to calls.