Hamza gloats over shuttle
By NICK PARKER
[The Sun, London, 4 Feb]:
HOOK-handed cleric Abu Hamza last night GLOATED over the shuttle disaster and rejoiced in the deaths of the seven astronauts.
The Muslim fanatic called the Columbia crew “thugs of space” who deserved to die.
He denounced the team — made up of Americans, an Israeli and an Indian-born Hindu — as a “trinity of evil” punished by Allah.
The 45-year-old cleric said they were “criminals” bent on boosting military satellite technology so America could dominate the world.
He claimed it was a sign from God that debris rained down on a Texas town named Palestine.
Hamza — banned from preaching his hate-filled sermons at London’s Finsbury Park mosque — said of the tragedy: “This was a divine act, a message for mankind.”
His rant caused outrage across Britain, in the grieving space communities of Houston and Cape Canaveral in the US and in Texan counties littered with wreckage.
Here, angry Muslims led renewed calls for Hamza, who lives in Shepherd’s Bush, West London, to be kicked out of the country.
Inayat Bunglawala, of the Muslim Council of Britain, said: “He does not possess a scrap of human decency. How dare he gloat over a tragedy like this.”
Dr Ghayasuddin Siddiqui, leader of the Muslim Parliament of Great Britain, said: “He continues to hurt the cause of Muslims.”
Shadow Home Secretary Oliver Letwin called Hamza’s remarks “monstrous, appalling, despicable and outrageous”.
He added: “All sensible people will be amazed someone can engage in such blatant incitement without anyone laying a finger on him.”
Labour MP Andrew Dismore branded the cleric sick and said: “The sooner we get rid of him the better.”
At Florida’s Kennedy Space Center, shocked Nasa spokeswoman Kandy Warren said: “Oh my God, that is horrible.”
Hamza was blasted by British tourists laying flowers there.
Jonathan Bancroft, 31, from Newport, South Wales, said: “I can’t believe our taxes are keeping this man. He is scum.”
Palestine’s mayor George Foss accused Hamza of spouting “horrific nonsense”.
And local café owner Judi Summerville said: “He is the monster, not the astronauts.”
Vinod Patel, leader of Houston’s Hindu community, said: “I would use his hook to attach him to the next shuttle and blast him into space.”
The American victims in Saturday’s disaster were Rick Husband, 45, William McCool, 41, Michael Anderson, 43, David Brown, 46, and Laurel Clark, 41.
Indian-born Kalpana Chawla, 41, and the first Israeli in space, Ilan Ramon, 48, also died.