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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 February 2008, 12:14 GMT
Top extremist recruiter is jailed



Eight men have been convicted for taking part in what the prosecution say were terrorism training camps in the UK.

The leader was Mohammed Hamid - said in court to have organised the camps to radicalise young Muslim men to fight against the West. Another man, Atilla Ahmet, pleaded guilty to soliciting to murder before the trial began. The others were convicted of attending the camps.

The vast majority of the evidence in the trial revolved around what Hamid and Ahmet said to their would-be recruits - and how those words could be interpreted. This evidence was gathered by an undercover officer and an MI5 bug placed in Hamid's east London home.

MESSAGE TO BOMBER: FEAR NO ONE

Mohammed Hamid may have not been one of the men who attempted to bomb London on 21 July 2005 - but he played a key role in bringing them together. Most of the men met through his street preaching at London's Hyde Park Corner. The four key men attended his May 2004 camp in Cumbria.

When the 7 July 2005 bombers struck London, using his nom-de-guerre, Al Quran, Hamid texted the mobile of Hussein Osman, one of the men who would try to blow himself up two weeks later.

The message read: "Assalam bro, we fear no-one except ALLAH, we will not change our ways, we are proud to be a Muslim and we will not hide. 8pm Friday at my place be there food an talk AL-QURAN."

7/7 ATTACKS

During one of the trips to a Kent Islamic school, which the men used for camping, undercover police officer Dawood recorded Hamid scoffing at the carnage of 7 July 2005 - but also telling Ahmet and another not to easily give up their lives. The jury found Hamid guilty of soliciting to murder in relation to this speech.

"You know what happened on the tubes, right, how many altogether, four people shaheed [martyred]," said Hamid. "Allah wa Allah I have to say this is as well, but four people got shaheed, right, how many people did they take out?"

"Fifty-two," replied Ahmet.

"Fifty two, that's not even a breakfast for me," said Hamid.

"I know it's not," replied Ahmet.

"That's not even a breakfast for me, for me in this country, do you understand me?

"Now, at the same time, how I look at it, I would take my breakfast and I still be with my children and my wife and I'll be looking after them. Remember the Jack the Ripper.

"Remember this people that never get caught, right, don't let your ego go forward, let your intelligence go forward for the sake of Allah, use your hikma [wisdom] and be effective, effective, see how many gets it, see how many you can take at the same time, see how long you can last out, then if you have to go, then you're going for a good reason."

PREPARING TO FIGHT

Both Hamid and Ahmet would encourage the men to prepare to fight. During camps they would talk about the right kind of training needed to survive in a guerrilla army. Back in talks, they would focus on the men having the right mental state to turn to violence.

"Allah said he loves those that fight with their lives and their wealth and their family's wealth as well in his cause," said Ahmet in one talk. "So this is what we were talking about - why are we scared to meet our death?"

STAND UP, BE COUNTED

Hamid would often use key arguments seen elsewhere in jihadi rhetoric - that the worldwide brotherly nature of Islam required British Muslims to take up arms in the defence of their co-religionists.

"As they wage war in our lands, you know it's halal [permissible] for you to do it here. You cannot say 'yeah but brother, I didn't come from that land.'

"That's your family that's being put to the sword, that's your family's honour that being put to the sword. That's Allah's honour being disgraced."

ENEMIES OF MUSLIMS

Ahmet boasted to the men that he was the "number one Al-Qaeda in Europe" and he would attack anyone he regarded as an enemy of Muslims. In one talk, he told attendees that the Muslim Council of Britain, one of the main umbrella groups for Muslims in the UK, was the enemy. "In reality these people need to be taken out," the court heard him say.

It was their right to take up arms, he told the group.

"So Allah gives us the right to fight. We proclaim to believe the truth but we do nothing... Allah made it obligatory to fight. When you understand the deen [faith or religious path] you have to fight, yeah?"

UNBELIEVERS

Both Hamid and Ahmet frequently turned their ire to unbelievers, using the word kuffar as an insult. Here's Ahmet at a meeting at Hamid's home on 31 March 2006.

"The kuffar today, what do they do? When the mujahideen hid and a handful… trapped 500 filthy American soldiers, what did they do? You know, 'We need cover, cover cover.' So they sent in their aeroplanes and bombed the brothers.

"Allah says they are cowards. It's an obligation for Allah to fulfil jihad. Allah says it is quite easy for him to punish the kuffar… but Allah says 'No, I've left you to fulfil that duty if you really believe it.'"

ABU HAMZA

Ahmet referred in one talk to Abu Hamza, the jailed extremist preacher he once worked alongside, and Abdullah al-Faisal, another jailed preacher, now deported.

Ahmet said the two preachers had set out a clear path: "So what do we do then, are we still accepting this or are we going to make change, what is it we're scared of, better to go to prison or die or whatever than staying on….

"It's like Sheikh Faisal said, Sheikh Abu Hamza said, I'm trying to spoon feed it to you, you know the trust, act upon it. Like the brother said, we need to start encouraging each other and stop making it a mockery of Islam."

PRAISE FOR THE DEAD

Mohammed Hamid told followers he had close links to Afghanistan and that he had sent men overseas to fight after they had proved capable in his training.

"Some of the brothers have gone away, some of the brothers have shaheed [become martyrs], some of the brothers have left the country right, these are different type of brother… I'm seeing more jokers in my life."

Ahmet continued: "We have seen brothers come and go… not jokers brothers, they went and did it, not talkers bruv."

  • Trial coverage for the BBC News website: Dominic Casciani



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