Sunday, 2 June 2013


ABOVE: Drummer Lee Rigby, 25, from the 2nd Battalion, Royal Regiment of Fusiliers
As far as I’m concerned he’s a young family man from this area and that’s it.
Ann Sargent ­chairman of the centre’s trustees
2nd June 2013

By Dominik Lemanski

A COMMUNITY centre may lose its charitable status after an Islamic extremist led sermons attended by the pair charged with the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby.

Both Michael Adebolajo, 28, and Michael Adebowale, 22, are said to have taken part in Friday prayer sessions at the Glyndon ­Community Centre in Plumstead, south-east London, led by radical preacher Usman Ali.

But now we can reveal the Charity Commission is looking into “concerns raised” about the ­“activities” taking place at the centre.

Mr Ali, a former member of banned Islamist group al-Muhajiroun, was banned from the nearby Greenwich Islamic Centre in January 2007 because of his extreme views.

Trustees spent £30,000 on an injunction to stop Mr Ali from attending their mosque after he played a video to children in the centre containing clips of planes flying into the World Trade Centre during which he chanted: “God is great”.

Last night a Charity Commission spokesman told us: “The Commission is carefully considering ­recent concerns raised about activities at the Glyndon Community Centre.

“All trustees have a responsibility to protect the reputation of their charities and the Commission will assess whether and to what extent the trustees identified and considered any risks to their charity in this instance.”

Dr Tariq Abbasi, chairman of the Greenwich Islamic Centre, said Ali started the Glyndon prayer group after he received his ban six years ago.

In 2006 Ali, 36, was held for six days by British police on suspicion of involvement in a conspiracy to blow up the Canadian Parliament.

He was released without charge and claimed the authorities tried to persuade him to be an informer.

The Glyndon centre is one of four in south London run by a registered charity which is also listed at Companies House.

Public files show Ali was a director in 2010. Its latest accounts state that it received a grant of £100,000 from Greenwich council in 2012 and £123,870 in 2011.

Last week Ann Sargent, ­chairman of the centre’s trustees, said she had known Ali for about five years and that neither he nor the prayer group had caused any problems.

She said: “As far as I’m concerned he’s a young family man from this area and that’s it. We have nothing to do with it [the group]. We don’t run them. We enable them to have groups in our centre.”

She said she was not aware of Adebolajo or Adebowale being at the centre.

Greenwich council said it would investigate if Mr Ali was still involved with the Glyndon prayer group.

A spokesman said: “Had we been made aware of Ali’s involvement at the time we would have investigated the matter, consulted with the police and taken whatever action they recommended.”