Greenwich Islamic Centre: Mosque leader accused of hateful sermon over Israel-Hamas conflict

Greenwich Islamic Centre imam Muhammad Abdullah Shakir (X)
Greenwich Islamic Centre imam Muhammad Abdullah Shakir (X)

A south London mosque leader has been accused of spewing hate in a sermon about the Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza.

Greenwich Council said it denounced the remarks by Muhammad Abdullah Shakir, an imam at the Greenwich Islamic Centre in Plumstead.

In footage of a sermon, purported to have taken place on October 20 in response to events in Gaza, he is alleged to have asked God to "forgive all Muslims” and “lead them to victory over their enemy”.

Speaking in Arabic, he is alleged to have said: “Curse the infidels who turn people away from the path of Allah and fight your messengers and good people."

He is alleged to have then added: "Protect Al-Aqsa Mosque from the usurping Jews," according to a translation.

The Al-Aqsa Mosque is a holy site for Muslims in Jerusalem. The Standard has contacted the Greenwich Islamic Centre for comment.

MP for Greenwich and Woolwich Matthew Pennycook said: “I am aware of footage circulating on social media that appears to show anti-Semitic hate being preached at the Greenwich Islamic Centre.

“I condemn the remarks in question in the strongest possible terms. I have informed the relevant authorities and expect action to be taken.”

Greenwich council leader Anthony Okereke and opposition leader Matt Hartley jointly called for an investigation.

“To say our Jewish friends are not welcome here belies the integral contribution they have made to the community we have shared for centuries,” they said in a statement.

“Instead we say to them, you are valued. You are our neighbours and our friends. We will stand up against hate and as a community, we will refuse to let anyone make you feel unsafe or unwelcome.

"It comes as no surprise to us that members of our Muslim community have also condemned Imam Shakir’s words and we are glad to stand in solidarity with them against hatred in all its forms."

In a statement on Wednesday about the Israel-Hamas conflict, the mosque said it “condemns any violence that targets civilians”.

“The relentless bombing campaign has resulted in the tragic loss of innocent children, women, and elderly individuals,” it said.

“As we stand with the Palestinian people, we condemn any violence that targets civilians and call for an immediate end to these atrocities.”

Mr Shakir is listed as one of two imams at the mosque on its website. The website states that the mosque aims to “create a conducive environment for effective interaction between Muslims and non-Muslims.”

According to the charity’s accounts, the mosque earned £1.17m in the year ending September 2022, of which £202,000 came from Government grants.

A Charity Commission spokesperson said: "We are aware of concerns about a video reportedly filmed at Greenwich Islamic Centre and are assessing information to inform our next steps.”