James Forsyth

Mahmood seeks answers

Mahmood seeks answers
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Khalid Mahmood, the Labour MP for Birmingham Perry Bar, has put down a significant question for Theresa May:

'Mr Khalid Mahmood (Birmingham, Perry Barr): To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent reports she has received on (a) investigations undertaken by members of the US Congress and (b) materials held by the US Department of Justice on the attendance of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab at any events addressed by Anwar al-Awlaki at North London Central Mosque since 2005; and what assessment her Department has made of the role of the North London Central Mosque in deradicalisation in the content of her Department's review of each strand of the Prevent stategy.'

Mahmood, who resigned as a trustee of the Mosque recently in a row over whether or not his signature had been forged on a document,  has also written a letter to May to accompany his question. In it, he expresses his ‘grave misgivings over the current stewardship of the North London Central Mosque (popularly known as the “Finsbury Park Mosque”)’. Mahmood quotes, in theletter, from a recent report on National Public Radio in the US on the Christmas Day bomber:

'Intelligence officials say the mosque figures in the Abdulumttaalab case, too. In tracing the path  of Abdulmutallab, intelligence officials say he apparently attended a sermon at the Finsbury Park Mosque in the fall of 2006 or 2007. He went to listen to the man who would become his mentor and perhaps his al-Qaida recruiter: Awlaki.'

Mahmood notes how Peter King, the ranking member of the Homeland Security Committee has requested more information on this question in a letter to Eric Holder, the US attorney general.


Mahmood goes on to say, ‘In light of this letter, I wish to seek further reassurances about the extent and nature of “deradicalisation” of this mosque after the expulsion of Abu Hamza and his crew.’ One hopes that May will answer Mahmmod’s letter with the speed and attention it deserves.

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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