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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 November 2007, 11:15 GMT
'Lyrical Terrorist led double life'
By Victoria Bone
BBC News

The Mujahideen Poisons Handbook which was found in Samina Malik's bedroom (Pic: Met Police)
The Mujahideen Poisons Handbook was found in Malik's home
Samina Malik was born in Britain and grew up in the west London borough of Southall.

Like many from the area, she found work at Heathrow Airport where she was a shop assistant at WH Smith.

But during her trial, prosecutors claimed Malik hid another, radicalised identity behind her everyday existence.

It was an identity they said she had crafted online after becoming involved with extremist Islamist organisations.

Calling herself the Lyrical Terrorist, they said she wrote and posted poems praising Osama Bin Laden, supporting martyrdom and describing gruesome subjects like beheading.

Police also told the Old Bailey they found a "library" of extreme literature in her bedroom including The Al-Qaeda Manual and The Mujahideen Poisons Handbook.

But throughout her trial, 23-year-old Malik insisted her poems were "meaningless".

She called herself the Lyrical Terrorist, she said, "because it sounded cool". It did not mean she was actually a terrorist or wanted to be one, she said.

In fact, she said: "I did not realise there was such a thing as extremism."

The jury found her not guilty of possessing articles for terrorist purposes.

But they did convict of the lesser terror charge of collecting articles "likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism".

It all adds up to Samina Malik being a dangerous extremist
Jonathan Sharp, prosecutor

This gives Malik the dubious honour of being the first woman ever convicted for offences related to Islamist terrorism in the UK.

'Out of context'

Malik told the court she started writing love poetry while at Villiers High School in Southall.

In early 2002, using the name Lyrical Babe, she said she began writing rap poems about guns and violence in the style of artists Tupac Shakur and 50 Cent.

At the same time, she said her interest in Islam began to grow and in 2004 she started wearing a hijab.

It was then that Malik changed her online name to the Lyrical Terrorist. She told the court: "It is only a user name. You have taken it too literally and out of context.

WH Smith receipt on which Samina Malik wrote about martyrdom (Pic: Met Police)
Malik wrote on a WH Smith till roll about her "desire" for martyrdom
"It was only because it was a cool name. It doesn't mean I'm a terrorist."

In the evenings after work, the prosecution said Malik posted her poems to a number of extremist websites.

The court also heard that she wrote about terrorism on the back of WH Smith receipts.

One note read to the jury said: "The desire within me increases every day to go for martyrdom."

On other till rolls, police said they found scribblings about Soviet spy weapons and "poisoned bullets" capable of killing the inhabitants of an entire street.

Prosecutor Jonathan Sharp said the evidence showed she was "deeply involved" in terrorist organisations, claiming: "It all adds up to Samina Malik being a dangerous extremist."

'Meaningless poem'

Malik, however, denied there was anything sinister about her behaviour.

Of one of her many poems, she said: "This does not mean I wanted to convert my words into actions.

"This is a meaningless poem and that is all it ever was. To partake in something and to write about something are two different things."

She said that another of her screen names Bint al Shaheed - meaning "daughter of the martyr" - was simply chosen in honour of her grandmother, who died of liver cancer in 2002.

Abu Hamza
Malik admitted visiting the website of controversial cleric Abu Hamza

Nevertheless, she said she did like to be known as Stranger Awaiting Martyrdom.

Malik also admitted visiting various extremist websites, including that of controversial cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri, but insisted she had "stumbled" upon it.

"I was being exposed to Abu Hamza, who we all know is a radical preacher," she said in court.

"Through the media's continuous spotlight and through his preaching, which the media continuously kept shedding light upon.

"I stumbled across his website. There was also Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed who was the leader of Al Muhajiroun."



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