|Tuesday February 4, 02:07 AM|
Firebrand Muslim cleric Abu Hamza has sparked outrage by saying the shuttle disaster showed the mission was a "Trinity of Evil" punished with death by Allah. Mr Hamza, who until recently preached at Finsbury Park mosque in north London, made the claim because the shuttle carried Americans, an Israeli Jew and an Indian-born Hindu.Britain's shadow home secretary Oliver Letwin was furious at Hamza's comments, branding them "monstrous, appalling, dispicable and outrageous".
He said: "All sensible people in Britain will be amazed that someone can engage in implicit incitement of this sort without anyone laying a finger on him."
The cleric, who has a hook for a hand and only one eye, injuries he claims he suffered fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan, is banned from preaching at the mosque because of his inflammatory sermons.
He said British Muslims would take it as a "sign from God" that Ilan Ramon, the first Israeli in space, was killed over an area of Texas called Palestine.
He added: "The Muslim people see these pilots as criminals. By going into space they would have sharpened the accuracy of their bombs through satellites.
'Trinity of evil'
"These missions would increase the number of satellites for military purposes. It would increase the slavery of governance of other countries by America.
"It is a punishment from God.
"Muslims see it that way. It is a trinity of evil because it carried Americans, an Israeli and a Hindu, a trinity of evil against Islam.
"The fact that the motor of the craft fell on Palestine - all these are messages from God.
Mr Hamza, originally from Egypt, has been criticised for his radical brand of Islam from all sides, including the Muslim community in Britain.