Extremist mosque leader Abu Bakr Deghayes caught on CCTV defending ‘Jihad’, says it’s compulsory

News Desk: An ‘extremist’ mosque leader gave a sermon at the end of prayers in which he encouraged terrorism by calling on the congregation to commit ‘jihad by sword’ and demonstrated with a stabbing motion, a court has heard.

Abu Bakr Deghayes was caught on CCTV as he gave a 20-minute speech to a group of around 50 male worshippers at Brighton Mosque and Muslim Community Centre last November, the Old Bailey heard.

The congregation included teenagers and young men in the 20s, as well as worshippers in their 30s and 40s, but several began fidgeting as the sermon went on, and others walked out.

Ben Lloyd, prosecuting, told the court that evening prayers had just finished on Sunday November 1, when Deghayes, 53, stood at the front of the mosque, with a book in his hand, to deliver the speech.

In footage played to the jury, he could be seen in socks, wearing a black top with the words ‘Free Palestine, resistance is existence.’

Mr Lloyd said: ‘The speech demonstrates the defendant to be an Islamic extremist.

‘He is someone who believes in the use of violence in the cause of Islam, or at the very least, he was reckless as to whether people would be encouraged.

In the sermon, Deghayes criticised Boris Johnson, saying: ‘We have a prime minister at the moment who has made a mockery of the niqab before becoming the prime minister and said this is like a letter box.’

Citing coronavirus, he added: ‘Look at the corona, now look how the world is in a mess, great mess. Where are these scientists? Where’s these armies? Where are the technology? Where are the laboratories?

‘Who’s more powerful than us? [That’s] what they’re saying, who’s more powerful than us? Look we have this, we have that, who’s power is more powerful than us?

‘Allah is more powerful than you! You idiots! You non-believers, idiots. Allah is more powerful than you! The non-believer going to work is an idiot, he is stupid, he can’t feed himself.’

Deghayes criticised moves to close mosques, to stop the spread of the virus, adding: ‘Faith, faith, faith, faith you know especially this period now. Now were going again they’re saying you know, close the mosques.

‘There’s no strength or power except with Allah. There were plagues in the community before there was cholera, millions died, never mosques were closed, ever ever.’

And speaking about religion, he added: ‘You know, today if you praise Islam, you’re strange among your own people, among your own family.

‘This guy is crazy man, you know they’re going to take him to Belmarsh [prison] very soon. Look what he’s doing, look, look! Don’t say this brother, don’t do that. Sit down.

‘Today you pass by, you see a person you know kicking the mosque and we pass, it’s not my business, it’s got nothing to do with me. Who is it to do with? It’s the house of Allah.

‘Why is it always him who’s doing this? Why are you angry? He has anger management problems. The community has forgotten its duty.’

‘It is not a speech given innocently or naively by the defendant.’

The prosecutor added: ‘The defendant was quite clear, he said jihad was compulsory or an obligation.

‘He said, “jihad by fighting by sword”.

‘The prosecution case is clear and straightforward – by standing up at the front of a busy mosque, and by quite deliberately saying “jihad by fighting by sword”, the defendant was encouraging terrorism, encouraging violence in the name of Islam.

‘If the defendant’s own words were not clear enough, he also made a stabbing gesture with his hands.’

Mr Lloyd told the jury: ‘Let me make one thing clear: what the case is not about is the freedom to practice religion or the freedom to worship.

‘Of course, none of that is unlawful in this country.

‘This is not about those who believe in Islam, rather, this case is about those who encourage violence in the name of religion, which, for very good reason you may feel, is a criminal offence.’

Deghayes, from Saltdean, Sussex, is originally from Libya, and had set out an ‘us and them approach – you are either on the side of Allah or you are a non-believer,’ Mr Lloyd said.

In the speech, Deghayes mixed English and Arabic, and told the congregation to ignore the British government and the Prevent de-radicalisation programme.

He said: ‘Allah is more powerful than you. You, idiots. You non-believers, idiots.

‘Allah is more powerful than you. The non-believer…is an idiot; he’s stupid.

‘Jihad is compulsory upon you, you, you and you until the Day of Resurrection, whatever the British Government thinks, whatever Prevent thinks, whatever Israel thinks.

‘Send to the sea. They can go and drink from the sea, Allah curse their fathers, OK?

‘Jihad, jihad, jihad! Jihad is compulsory.

‘Jihad by fighting by sword that means this jihad is compulsory upon you, not jihad is the word of mouth but jihad will remain compulsory until the Day of Resurrection.

‘And my livelihood is under the shadow of my spear.’

Deghayes added that anyone who did not like that was an enemy of Allah, declaring: ‘Go fight Allah! Go Fight Allah!’

Mr Lloyd said: ‘The key speech is a call to arms, a call to violence in that way.

‘You will see a stabbing motion.

‘The prosecution say the meaning of this is clear.’

Deghayes was questioned by police but made no comment.

He denies encouraging terrorism and the trial continues.