As the ISIS threat to the Middle East deepens following the recent barbaric beheading of American reporter James Foley by a British Jihadist, it seems that freedom of reporting is also coming under fire in London.
The journalist in question, Ben Flanagan, who works officially for Al-Jazeera, reported in Al-Arabiya that he was held, against his will, at London’s Finsbury Park Mosque when he asked a question his interviewee didn’t like.
The mosque, which is already notorious as it was formally run by Al-Qaeda cleric Abu Hamza, reportedly went too far, so Flanagan was locked in a room for over half-an-hour while he waited for the police to arrive.
The Finsbury Park Mosque has tried to shake off its radical reputation, but because Abu Hamza and Richard Reid, the infamous shoe bomber, prayed there, it seems the reputation is deserved.
Flanagan notes that he set up an interview with the Finsbury Park Mosque manager, Mohammed Kozbar, to write about the changes in the mosque since Abu Hamza’s days. But, Flanagan writes, he hit a nerve with Kozbar after he asked him if the mosque had links to the Muslim Brotherhood, a group connected with the likes of Hamas and ISIS.
Having opposed the question strongly, Kozbar apparently made some unprecedented remarks and promptly ended the interview, demanded a copy of the interview footage, which was being filmed, and stormed out of the room in a huff, locking the door behind him.
Kozbar even went as far as calling the police to have them arrest Flanagan; he claimed his credentials were questionable. After questioning, Flanagan left the mosque and decided not to press charges against the man who imprisoned him.
The Al Jazeera journalist argued that Finsbury Park Mosque indeed has Muslim Brotherhood ties, noting that a group under the umbrella Muslim Association of Britain (MAB) took control in 2005 after Abu Hamza’s arrest. MAB was founded by members of the Muslim Brotherhood and has openly expressed its support for the group, although it has no direct partnership. Flanagan noted that Kozbar is vice president of MAB.