A Note on Mustafa al-Mansur, Friday’s Grenfell Tower Demonstration Organiser

From the Daily Telegraph:

The organiser of Friday’s Grenfell Tower demonstration, in which protesters stormed Kensington Town Hall, is a Jeremy Corbyn-supporting political activist who was once arrested on suspicion of terrorism offences, The Daily Telegraph can reveal.

Businessman Mustafa al-Mansur, 39, launched a Facebook campaign urging people affected by the tragedy to gather at council offices on Friday afternoon, after discovering that a family friend had died in the tragedy.

It emerged last night that Mr Mansur, who used to be spokesman for the Finsbury Park Mosque, had been arrested 10 years ago by the Metropolitan Police on suspicion of terrorism offences. He was released without charge and later claimed he had been detained because his fingerprints had been found on a book about improvised explosive devices (IEDs), which belonged to a Bosnian associate.

The article makes it clear that al-Mansur (var. Mustafa Almansur) “appealed for calm” when he addressed the crowd at Kensington Town Hall, and he was quoted as complaining about “fringe elements”.

On Twitter, the Telegraph quote about Finsbury Park Mosque was annotated by Jack Montgomery, a Breitbart writer, to say that al-Mansur was “spokesman for [Abu Hamza’s] Finsbury Park Mosque”. From this, it was further claimed by Colonel Richard Kemp that al-Mansur was an “associate” of Abu Hamza.

Abu Hamza was forced out of the mosque in January 2003, and it was closed down a few months later. It reopened under new management early in 2005, and it is only from this period that  al-Mansur is described in the media as the mosque’s spokesman. The source is an AFP report helpfully preserved online by Free Republic:

Some 500 attend the mosque on average, mostly Muslims of Somalian, north African, Bangladeshi and Pakistani background, said Mustafa al-Mansur, the mosque’s spokesman, who is himself from Bangladesh.

“There are two types of people. There are people who stopped coming because of the previous management because they didn’t feel safe or comfortable, and there are people who didn’t care,” he told AFP.

“We don’t see any recognizable faces any more,” he added. “Since Abu Hamza left, the mosque was closed for several months. When Abu Hamza left there was a sigh of relief… Even some Abu Hamza supporters thanked us.”

A new Daily Mail article also makes explicit that al-Mansur was mosque spokesman “after the time of notorious hate preacher Abu Hamza”. There is thus no reason to suppose that the two were associates or that al-Mansur supported Abu Hamza. Al-Mansur is not mentioned in the literature about Abu Hamza.

Al-Mansur was apparently arrested in December 2006, and he gave an account of it six weeks later to Madeleine Bunting at the Guardian. Only his first name is used in the article as it currently appears online, although a re-posting on a forum shows that it used to carry his full name. He told Bunting:

After several days of questioning, it became clear why he had been arrested. He was shown a book entitled IED (improvised explosive devices). It was an American manual and he dimly remembered seeing it before. “It was about 1995,” he says. “I was 17 or 18. I met a man at a mosque in Clapton, east London; he was involved in a Bosnian humanitarian organisation, and over about six months I saw him a few times. On one occasion, he took me to the flat of a friend of his and that’s where I saw the book. I picked it up, skimmed through it and put it down. That was all. The police said they had found the book in a box in an attic and they found six fingerprints of mine on the book.”

Mustafa’s fingerprints were already on the police database from an earlier, unrelated incident and the police were swiftly able to establish a match.

The Telegraph also notes that al-Mansur had “praised Mr Corbyn recently on his Facebook page”. Clearly, then, there are no obvious signs of support for Islamic extremism in his social media profile, otherwise the Telegraph would have mentioned it.

One Response

  1. My take on this catastrophe is that – as folk become more concerned with health and safety rules and procedures, safeguarding of children procedures and guidelines and so on and so forth – they lose sight of the real picture and fail to ask themselves the simple question: is this material safe. The mind can only prioritise some things, and if it is weighed down with masses of trivia and detail it cannot see the wood for the trees. Cut the managers – there are far too many of them.

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