Mustafa Kemal Mustafa, known as Abu Hamza, the hook-handed Muslim cleric, aged 47, was sentenced to seven years in jail on six charges of soliciting to murder, two charges of ‘using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour with the intention of stirring up racial hatred’, a charge of possessing video and audio recordings intended for distribution to stir up racial hatred, and a charge under the Terrorism Act 2000 of possessing a document, the Encyclopaedia of the Afghani Jihad, containing information ‘of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism’. He was acquitted on three other charges of soliciting to murder and one of stirring up racial hatred. The judge said, ‘I do not make the mistake that you represent Islamic thinking generally.’ Four days earlier, police had refrained from arresting anyone during a demonstration in London against a Danish cartoon depicting Mohammed, even though some protesters’ placards called for killing and massacre. At another demonstration at the Danish embassy in London, police did not arrest a young man dressed up like a suicide-bomber. He turned out to be one Omar Khayam from Bedford, who apologised on television shortly before it was discovered that he had been released on licence from a six-year sentence for possession of cocaine with intent to supply; he was sent back to prison. The government changed the provisions of the Education Bill to be debated next month, so that schools would in future be prohibited by law to interview candidates for admission; the changes were intended to mollify Labour MPs. Mr Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary, pressed ahead with plans to merge police forces in four regions of England, against the wishes of constabularies such as Cleveland. Harry Williams, the former Dean of Chapel at Trinity College, Cambridge, who in 1969 became a monk at Mirfield, died, aged 86. Moira Shearer, the ballerina, died, aged 80. South-Eastern England recorded the driest January since 1973, presaging extended hosepipe bans. A European eagle owl was captured at Saxlingham Nethergate, Norfolk, after it attempted to eat a miniature dachshund called Heidi.
Protesters against the cartoon depicting Mohammed published last autumn in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten burned down the Danish embassies in Damascus and Beirut, and attacked the embassy in Tehran. At Trabzon on the Black Sea in Turkey, a 61-year-old Catholic priest was shot dead at his church by a teenager angered by the cartoons. In Afghanistan police shot dead four demonstrators. A motorcyclist attempting to enter a police compound at Kandahar in southern Afghanistan killed 13; Britain has announced plans to send 3,300 troops to the region. A ferry carrying 1,414 from Saudi Arabia to Safaga in Egypt sank, with only 388 confirmed survivors. Some had been left for 24 hours in the sea; an angry crowd ransacked the offices of the ship’s Egyptian owners. In the Philippines 74 were killed when part of a crowd stampeded at a Manila stadium where a television gameshow with cash prizes was taking place. Mr Nicolas Sarkozy, the interior minister of France, presented a draft law on immigration to the Cabinet; ‘We no longer want immigration to be inflicted,’ he said. ‘We want selected immigration.’ In rural Alabama four Baptist churches were set on fire in a week; five had been set alight the week before. Luxembourg, which has a 5.6 per cent holding in Arcelor, the steel concern, opposed a bid from Mittal Steel to take it over. An expedition to New Guinea recorded the first observed male specimen of Berlepsch’s six-wired bird of paradise, a previously unknown golden-wattled honey-eater, a colony of gold-mantled tree kangaroos and 20 new species of frogs.