U.K. effort to deport radical imam delayed

April 27, 2004 at 8:51 AM

LONDON, April 27 (UPI) -- Britain's effort to deport a Muslim cleric whose distinctive hooked hand has become a national symbol of radical Islam, has stalled again.

The Special Immigration Appeals Commission has postponed the scheduled hearing of an appeal against the order to strip Abu Hamza of British citizenship until Jan. 10, the Times of London reported Tuesday.

The commission's action is a severe and humiliating setback for Home Secretary David Blunkett to remove a figure widely seen as an instigator of terrorism.

The government has been trying to deport the Egyptian born Muslim, prone to waving his hook as he preaches, since last April.

Hamza was not in court Monday.

Some of Hamza's supporters have boasted in private they can drag out the legal proceedings in London and Strasbourg for seven years before any forcible action can be taken to remove him.

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