Inquiry launched into Brighton Mosque where Libyan former trustee gave terror speech

Charity Commission raises concerns after Abubaker Deghayes was convicted of encouraging terrorism

The Charity Commission is investigating Brighton Mosque after its former trustee Abubaker Deghayes was sentenced to jail for giving a speech inciting terrorism. PA
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A British mosque where a former trustee was convicted of giving a speech inciting terrorism is being investigated by the UK's charity watchdog.

Abubaker Deghayes, whose two sons died in Syria, was in April sentenced to four years in jail after making the speech on the steps of Brighton Mosque last November.

Despite the Charity Commission issuing the mosque with an official warning in May, it has now launched a statutory inquiry over concerns that an continuing dispute at the place of worship will leave it unable to protect itself from further harm.

The mosque had previously been used by hate preacher and convicted terrorist Abu Hamza, who is now serving a sentence in the US for trying to establish a terrorist training camp in Oregon.

"The commission opened the inquiry due to regulatory concerns resulting from a failure to resolve a dispute at the charity, which is having a detrimental impact on the charity’s governance and administration," the commission said in a statement.

"Earlier this year, the regulator issued the charity with an official warning after a former trustee was convicted of encouraging terrorism in a speech given on the charity’s premises.

"The Commission determined that the trustees knew or ought to have known the risk that this individual posed to the charity and set out the actions trustees should take to protect the charity and its beneficiaries from abuse.

"However, due to an ongoing dispute at the charity about control of its administration and management, there is an increased risk that appropriate actions will not be taken to protect the charity from further undue risk of harm.

The commission said the charity had been plagued by "financial management issues", resulting in late statutory annual returns over the past four financial periods.

"The commission is concerned generally about the impact of the dispute on the charity’s ability to operate sustainably and for the benefit of its beneficiaries," the statement said. "The parties to the dispute have not, as advised repeatedly by the commission, been able to appropriately settle the dispute in the best interests of the charity."

Deghayes, who is Libyan, had been a trustee at the mosque.

Muslim cleric, Abu Hamza al-Masri, is seen addressing the sixth annual rally for Islam in Trafalgar Square, London in this August 25, 2002 file photograph. The European Court of Human Rights on September 24, 2012 gave final approval for the extradition of Abu Hamza, along with four other individuals, from the UK to the U.S., local media reported.  REUTERS/Ian Waldie/Files  (BRITAIN - Tags: POLITICS SOCIETY RELIGION)

On the day of the incident he had given a 20-minute speech to about 50 people, including children and young adults.

His close relatives have a history of extremism and his brother Omar Deghayes is a former Guantanamo detainee.

Two of Abubaker Deghayes’s sons were killed while fighting in Syria.

Police first investigated Deghayes in 1997 after a report that he had been preaching in a manner that might “incite racial unrest” and that “reflected strong Al Qaeda sympathies”.

In 2014 three of his sons travelled to Turkey and then on to Syria.

Abdullah Deghayes was killed aged 18 by a sniper while fighting for an Al Qaeda-linked group in Idlib province. His death was followed, nine months later, by that of his brother, Jaffar, who was 17.

A third brother, Amer, then 20, the eldest and first to leave for Syria, was shot in the stomach in the same battle as Abdullah but survived and remained in the country where he married and had a child.

Updated: October 06, 2022, 11:51 AM