Page last updated at 16:32 GMT, Thursday, 17 April 2008 17:32 UK

Terror fund-raiser absconds from trial

By Dominic Casciani
BBC News

Shah Jalal Hussain
Shah Jalal Hussain: Missing

A man found guilty of terrorism fundraising in the UK absconded from his trial earlier this month.

Shah Jalal Hussain was found guilty in his absence of fund-raising for Iraqi insurgents, for which he could have been jailed for up to five years.

Hussain was on trial alongside Abu Izzadeen, also known as Omar Brooks.

Izzadeen became a tabloid hate figure when he heckled former Home Secretary John Reid, accusing the police of "state terrorism".

Police issued a warrant for Hussain's arrest on 8 April when he failed to turn up for a session at the court after the jury had retired to consider verdicts. He had been on bail during the trial.

The allegations at the heart of the trial concerned events on the evening of 9 November 2004 when Hussain and others were said to have targeted rising anger among Muslims over the Iraq war.

Hussain, 25, of East London, and other members of the now banned al-Muhajiroun group asked prayer-goers at London's biggest mosque to fund overseas fighters.

Holy month

Kingston Crown Court heard that speeches and calls for funds were made both inside and outside the London Central Mosque at Regent's Park, despite the opposition of the institution's authorities.

The speeches took place during Ramadan, Islam's holy month, and the busiest time of the year for the mosque.

But the trigger for the call for funds was in fact events on the ground in Iraq.

US forces were then attempting to take control of Falluja, 30 miles west of Baghdad.

US troops take men away in Fallujah
Your money must go to the mujahideen, your money must go to Sheikh Osama bin Laden, to the Muslims in Falluja
Shah Jalal Hussain, November 2004

The city was largely in the control of Sunni insurgents and had increasingly become a base for foreign fighters following al-Qaeda's ideology and calls for resistance against Western troops in the country.

The storming of the city led to a major loss of civilian life and qustions over the US's tactics.

Jonathan Laidlaw QC, prosecuting, said the men had arrived at the mosque to pray.

"It was also their plain intention to preach in objection to the activity in Falluja," he said.

"That in itself is not illegal. Freedom of expression has however its limits and what is not permitted is speeches which are in fact appeals for monies to assist with the insurgency."

The court heard that the mosque's authorities had called the police at 2000 GMT to remove the al-Muhajiroun protesters.

But when the police arrived, things got worse. Officers heard protesters chanting "Black Watch, Death Watch", a reference to the Black Watch Regiment then posted to Iraq.

Further chants referred to fighters who would "wipe out" British soldiers. The officers retreated from the scene to avoid a violent clash.

Police later seized a DVD recording of the evening's protests which revealed the full extent of the language and the alleged fundraising.

Protester Abu Izzadeen
Abu Izzadeen heckled the then home secretary

Hussain spoke for almost an hour during the evening.

He told listeners that the "kaffir", a derogatory term for Christians and Jews, would never be satisfied until they had forced Muslims to give up Islam.

"When the day of judgement comes there is going to be bloodshed," he said.

"There is going to be killing my dear brothers, my message for you today. You must prepare yourself.

"We are living in the UK, we cannot fight any kaffirs. If Allah gives me a knife and I saw George Bush, I swear by Allah that I will slaughter him. I will not slow down, I will not delay it."

Hussain said that Muslims should stop any traditional charitable giving, including professional Muslim aid agencies, and support the fighters and their holy cause "verbally, financially and physically".

"Is your heart with the mujahideen or not, your heart must be with the mujahideen. Anyone that is not with them, he has the sign of [Arabic for hypocrisy].

"Give your Zakat [charity] to the mujahideen. And spend in the cause of Allah and do not throw yourself into destruction and do good.

"Your money must go to the mujahideen, your money must go to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi [the now dead leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq] ... to Sheikh Osama bin Laden, to the Muslims in Falluja.

"Falluja, it is our victory my dear brothers, you should be proud of Falluja."

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