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Radical Muslim Cleric Denies Inciting Murder


A radical Muslim cleric on trial in London on charges of advocating murder of non-Muslims has denied inciting any killings.

Abu Hamza al-Masri took the stand stressing opposition to racism. When his lawyers asked if he had advocated killings he replied he did not advocate murder but supported what he termed combat. The attorney then mentioned Afghanistan.

The defendant is the former chief preacher at Finsbury Park mosque in north London. He faces at least 15 charges that include stirring racial hatred, as well as possession of threatening recordings and a terrorist document.

The Egyptian-born cleric, who gained international notoriety for his fiery sermons, has denied any role in terrorism.

The United States has sought to extradite him on terrorism charges.

Abu Hamza al-Masri says he lost both hands and an eye fighting Soviet forces in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.