A very high profile case in Britain, coming on the heels of the recent appeals court decision throwing out the convictions of several British men for their intent to take part in jihad – further highlights the problem of using criminal courts to fight back against the scourge of Salafi / Deobandi radical Islam. A man at the center of the failed "7/21" attacks in London. Mohammed Hamid, aka Osama bin London, has been convicted today of "organizing terrorist training camps and encouraging Muslims to murder non-believers" – or as the Home Secretary would say, he was convicted of "anti-Islamic activities." But the British authorities knew of Hamid long before the failed attacks and did not act in time to forestall the attacks. And then there is the the very problematic role play by the BBC in all of this. Mohammed Hamid is a former drug-addict who beat up his wife and could turn from a pleasant charmer into a domineering monster in the blink of an eye, a close family member told the Daily Telegraph. Read the entire article. And today, Hamid has been convicted in a British court "of organizing terrorist training camps and encouraging Muslims to murder non-believers at the end of a four-month trial at Woolwich Crown Court." This from the Telegraph tells us that the government knew of the threat posed by Hamid, yet did not act proactively to forestall that threat: . . . Street preacher Mohammed Hamid - who once told young Muslims the 52 deaths in the July 7 attacks on London were "not even breakfast to me" - groomed the would-be suicide bombers under the noses of watching police, security services and even the BBC. Read the entire article. And this article tries to get its hands around the extent of Hamid’s activities relating to the radicalization process of Wahhabi / Salafi / Deobandi Islam: Mohammed Hamid spent 13 years grooming hundreds of young Muslim men to fight non-believers under the noses of the police and security services and Operation Overamp set out to put that right. Read the entire article. And lastly, there are the utterly clueless – and indeed, malignant – multiculturalists at the BBC: A BBC producer failed to give police information that would have helped track down the July 21 bombers, the trial was told. Read the article here. The BBC is every bit as problematic in Britain as the NYT is in the U.S., if not moreso.
I’ve blogged here that if Britain is to effectively attack the severe problem it has with radical Salafi / Deobandi Islam, then it needs to pass laws that allow for a much more proactive approach - probably adopting the framework of child pornography laws. The case of Mahammed Hamid is a case study in the problems presented by using traditional law enforcement paradigm – which is reactive – to deal with the problems of terrorism and radicalization within Britain's border. It is also a case study in other ways. One, it shows the radicalization process and how it is tied into Wahhabi / Salafi / Deobandi Islam. Two, it shows just how utterly clueless the chattering classes and multiculturalists are about the true threat in their midst.
In 2005, the sophisticates at the BBC attempted to portray the face of "moderate Islam" to its many viewers with a production called "Don’t panic, I’m Islamic." Displaying the incredible naiveté of true multiculturalists, the BBC chose as the star of its show Mohammed Hamid to represent the face of moderate Islam in Britain. Mr. Hamid is now more popularly known as Osama bin London. The BBC would later compound its idiocy, but for now, let’s ask, who was Mohammed Hamid?
Despite the BBC’s portrayal to the contrary, Hamid seems in many ways the stereotypical radical Salafi Islamist. He has a distinct hatred for the West, the willingness to kill to see the imposition of a caliphate, close ties to Pakistan, and a man who treated his wife as a second class citizen and punching bag. According to one of his relatives, he was "evil personified." This from the Telegraph tells the background:
. . . The woman, who is too afraid to be identified, said the family moved from Tanzania, East Africa to Batley in the 1960s. The town borders Dewsbury, in West Yorkshire where the July 7 bombers plotted their attacks.
The four brothers and seven sisters lived with their parents and other relatives in one house and ran a clothing business from home. Hamid, or "Babou" as he was known to the family, was the black sheep of the family who had a Muslim wedding, which was never registered, to an Afro-Carribean woman called Linda from Hackney, east London.
"He beat her black and blue," the relative claimed. "He was never afraid to put the boot in but he could also be nice as you like.
. . . Hamid was never faithful, the relative allegedly said, returning from one trip to Greece with a venereal disease. He served three prison sentences, even turning up to his mother's funeral in handcuffs.
"To my knowledge he never had a job. He used to make a lot of trips to Pakistan and India and return to his bookshop in Hackney with lots of packages. I thought he was bringing in drugs."
His turn to religion was the most surprising to his family, brought on by his father's death. He had an arranged marriage with a woman in India who wears the full veil and shortly afterwards made a family pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia. But his turn to radicalism saw him try and recruit his nephews some of whom still lived in Batley.
"He was really a criminal and I think he only turned to religion for the attention," the relative said.
"But he hated Britain and told his nephews the whole country should be Islamic and they should kill non-believers.".
. . . To clean himself up, Hamid moved to India where he met and married his second wife, a committed Muslim, who wore a veil. They went on to have four children, now aged one, five, ten and 12. He returned to his council house in Britain and turned his life to Islam.
In 1997 he opened a bookshop in Hackney, east London, 10 minutes from his home, called the Al-Quran Islamic Book Centre, attracting visitors from as far afield as Scotland to chat away from the "strict" atmosphere of the mosques. In all he estimated more than 300 people visited the shop and, after it closed in 2004, meetings at his home in Almack Road.
Hamid became a disciple of the radical preacher Abdullah el-Faisal, later jailed for incitement to murder, and despite his turn to Islam he was arrested in March 2000 with six others accused of falsely imprisoning a man and woman, although the charges were later dropped.
In the wake of the September 11 attacks, Hamid bought a step ladder and began preaching at Speakers Corner in Hyde Park. Three months later, just after the US attacks on Afghanistan, he set off for Karachi in southern Pakistan to deliver hospital equipment, travelling across the border into Afghanistan and going on to Kandahar, the site of the Taliban's last stand, and then Kalat, high in the mountains of northern Afghanistan. He was later to boast of his "links" but never specified what they were.
Back in Britain, Hamid was seen by neighbours with the radical preacher Abu Hamza outside Finsbury Park mosque in North London, although he claimed he had never met the cleric. It was through the bookshop in 2003 that Hamid met Yassin Omar, the Warren Street bomber, and through him that he met Muktar Ibrahim, the leader of the July 21 gang, when they were introduced at Edmonton mosque.
Ramzi Mohammed, the Oval bomber, met Hamid at Speaker's Corner, he said, when he arrived with Hussain Osman, the Shepherd's Bush bomber, and a few others from south and west London. They joined him on the camping trip to the Lake District in 2004 and Hamid said: "It was a case of the more the merrier."
Hamid, 50, who is believed to have met senior al-Qa'eda figures in Afghanistan, organised a series of training camps in the New Forest, the Lake District, and Scotland and paintballing sessions in Berkshire and Kent to train his followers.
He also held regular Friday prayer meetings at his home in Clapton, East London, where he would urge Muslims to attack non-believers.
All four of the failed suicide bombers of July 21 attended his meetings and Hamid ran an Islamic bookstall on Oxford Street with Muktar Ibrahim, the leader of the July 21 gang.
He was spoken to by police on three other occasions before July 2005 at his Oxford Street stall and on eight separate occasions afterwards - but was not arrested until September 2006, more than a year after the July attacks, after an undercover policeman infiltrated his group.
. . . Police first observed the July 21 bombers being put through their paces in the Lake District at one of Hamid's camps on May 2, 2004 - more than a year before they launched their failed attacks on London's transport system.
Following a tip off, a Cumbrian officer out fell running came across a group of 20 Asian men training in Great Langdale as Hamid barked orders.
Special Branch was called in to photograph the group and close-up surveillance pictures showed all four of the men who went on to attack London on July 21 the following year.
Hamid's home in Hackney, East London was subsequently put under surveillance and four weeks later, on May 29, he was seen collecting another group together to return to Great Langdale.
Once again the fell-running officer located them in the Lake District and this time the surveillance was left to Cumbrian police who saw the group "holding branches or sticks as though they were carrying rifles".
The case was handed over to MI5 but their agents brought the wrong camera equipment when they turned up in August 2004 because they were not expecting the group to be there again. They shot just 11 minutes of footage across three days, however the film once again included Muktar Ibrahim.
One former Royal Marine Commando watched the group as they performed press-ups, sit-ups, an anti-ambush drill and "leopard crawling," moving low and flat along the ground.
But the three-man surveillance team seemed to take a relaxed approach to the operation, at one point signing off on the camera: "And what a lovely view it is."
Also there were Hamid's co-accused Kibley da Costa, 24, Mohammed Al-Figari, 42, and Kader Ahmed, 20. They have been found guilty of attending terror camps in the New Forest and at a Berkshire paintballing centre.
Hamid was also joined in his teachings by Atilla Ahmet, 43, the self-styled emir of the gang, who admitted three charges of soliciting murder at the start of the trial.
Ahmet was Abu Hamza's right-hand man at Finsbury Park Mosque and took control of his notorious Supporters of Shariah group after his arrest in 2004.
During Hamid's trial, the court heard how he and Muktar Ibrahim set up a stall selling Islamic literature outside Debenhams department store in Oxford Street and how, in October 2004, both men were arrested following a disturbance at the stall.
Police called to reports of three men blocking the pavement with a trestle table stacked with religious books found they refused to move and started to abuse the black and Asian officers when they were threatened with arrest.
The officers had to call for assistance and as Hamid was handcuffed and dragged to the police van he told the officers: "I've got a bomb and I'm going to blow you all up."
At the police station Hamid gave his name as Osama bin London and was only identified after a fingerprint check which showed up his extensive criminal record for theft and burglary. Ibrahim ran from police and was only stopped when a member of the public tripped him up. However, he failed to turn up at Horseferry Road Magistrates Court because he had travelled to Pakistan where it is thought he learned how to make the bombs for July 21.
. . . Hamid exchanged 155 calls and text messages with the four July 21 bombers, including one message sent to Hussain Osman on the evening of July 7, in which he used the alias Al-Quran and wrote: "Assalam bro, we fear no-one except ALLAH, we will not change our ways, we are proud to be a Muslim an we will not hide. 8pm Friday at my place, be there food and talk, AL-QURAN."
He also sent Mohammed and Osman a text on the night of July 21 and attempted to ring both of them the following day.
Co-accused Kader Ahmed and Kibley da Costa also made attempts to contact the men in the two days after the attacks.
Hamid, assisted by Ahmet, was said to be a "recruiter, groomer and corrupter of young Muslims."
While the July 7 bombers bonded over white-water rafting in Wales, for the failed July 21 bombers it was camping expeditions to the Lake District.
In the days after the attempted attacks, the police found they had surveillance pictures of the would-be bombers with Atilla Ahmet, Abu Hamza's replacement at Finsbury Park Mosque in North London, and with Hamid on training camps in the Lake District.
The two men came together, they found, at Hamid's home in Hackney, east London, on Friday afternoons, where they would gather a group of young men around them.
When MI5 planted a bug in Hamid's home they uncovered a process of radicalisation that eventually led to July 21.
Hamid would begin at Speaker's Corner in Hyde Park or his stall on Oxford Street where he would invite young men to the Friday meetings.
At the meetings they were addressed by Ahmet and Hamid would invite them to training camps in the New Forest, the Lake District, or Scotland and to paintballing sessions in Berkshire and Kent where he would train them for jihad [holy war].
Hamid said his meetings were "our pub, our restaurant" and berated his followers for wanting to study at college and follow "nine to five" jobs when women and children were dieing in Iraq.
"We must learn to move in numbers in this land of kaffirs [non-believers]," he said. "Either we become prisoners of this land or we free ourselves."
Two days before Christmas 2005 he talked about attacking Prince Charles, Camilla and Tony Blair at the London Olympics in 2012, adding: "Top-notch people from the whole world are coming to that area.
"The guy has told us 2012. He said, 'Don't think it is going to come on 2012, they're going to have six, seven atrocities before you get that.'"
A few months later Ahmet told his followers to attack the police, adding: "If you've got a little bit of strength in you pick up the tool and try and end one of the kuffar's [non-believer's] life."
Asked by one of the group if he was permitted to kill any kuffar, Ahmet said there were some who could be converted but added: "The House of Parliament, the big people, the MPs, the police, the army, the city slickers are all halal [permitted]."
But MI5 became suspicious that more was being said away from the meetings. At times music would be turned up and all that officers could hear were the strains of the Beach Boys or sexually explicit rap lyrics.
A Special Branch officer was chosen to try and infiltrate the group - and it could not have been easier.
Given the nickname "Dawood" by Hamid, he "converted" the man from Christianity to Islam during a half hour conversation at his stall on Oxford Street, central London on April 6 2006.
Almost the only words Dawood spoke were "yeah, you're right" and "exactly" as Hamid told him how DNA, mobile phones, air travel and the Iraq war had all been predicted by the Koran.
According to Hamid, Islam offered social security, the NHS, welfare and policing.
"It all comes from the sharia [Islamic law]. They have it but our country don't have it," he told Dawood.
Two weeks later, he received a text message from Hamid, who used the name al-Quran, telling him: "Salaam bro. 8pm my place, dinner and talk."
Dawood was able to join Hamid and his group on a camping trip to the New Forest and on a paintballing trip at White Waltham in Berkshire.
The officer said Hamid told the group they weren't just running around the woods, they were training for jihad [holy war].
And Dawood was so good that at the end of the day of paintballing, Hamid presented the undercover policeman with a medal as the best player.
Hamid, himself a former drug addict, did his best to relate to the young men he was addressing.
At his home in Hackney in June 2006 he told them: "The Muslims are bad boys, you know what I mean? If you go on the street everybody want to be a rapper, Puff Daddy. Everybody wants to be something and when they come to Islam everybody wants to be mujaheed [holy warrior]."
He told his followers they were "Soldiers of Allah" who were "fighting for shariah" [Islamic law].
"The whole aspect is for you to get shahada [martyred] for you to be shaheed [martyr]," he added.
Dawood said Hamid motioned as if holding a gun and said: "Everybody wants a bit of that."
. . . The meetings continued and at Hamid's house on July 14 his followers could be heard laughing at the death of a Muslim soldier fighting for British forces in Afghanistan.
Hamid told the meeting: "There's enough of them here that you know, you got House of Parliament, then you've got the things around it…you can pick them off like that, you understand?"
On July 22 2006 Hamid held a "family weekend" at the Jameah Islamiyah school in Crowborough, Sussex.
The school, a sprawling former Catholic seminary and ballet school set in 54 acres, had been used by both Abu Hamza and Sussex Police, who attended diversity training programmes there, but had only 12 pupils and has since been shut down after failing an Ofsted inspection.
In a recording made by Dawood, Hamid was heard telling him: "You know what happened on the Tubes, four people got shaheed (martyred).
"How many people did they take out? That's not even a breakfast for me."
On the same weekend, Ahmet sang a song to children at the camp to a callipso tune: "Come mister Taliban, come bomb England. Before the daylight come, you wanna see ten Downing Street done."
Hamid was aware he could be under surveillance by MI5 and as his group drove home from a camping trip, they passed Paddington Green police station where terrorist suspects are held and Hamid taunted: "Here is your terrorist. I'm here come and get me." . . .
Don't Panic, I'm Islamic, which featured the group paintballing and an interview with Mohammed Hamid, was shown on BBC2 on June 12, 2005.
Nasreen Suleaman, the producer, told the court that Hamid said he would use his £300 fee to settle the fine he had been given by magistrates for racially abusing two policemen at his Oxford Street stall.
Called as a defence witness, Miss Suleaman admitted that she had spoken to Hamid in the days following the July 21 attacks and found out he knew the wanted men.
She said she thought he was scared the fugitives might try to call him but did not contact the police because she felt under "no obligation" to do so.
Miss Suleaman claimed she told BBC managers of the situation but no one passed on the information to the authorities. . . .
Mohammed Hamid is a former drug-addict who beat up his wife and could turn from a pleasant charmer into a domineering monster in the blink of an eye, a close family member told the Daily Telegraph.
Read the entire article. And today, Hamid has been convicted in a British court "of organizing terrorist training camps and encouraging Muslims to murder non-believers at the end of a four-month trial at Woolwich Crown Court." This from the Telegraph tells us that the government knew of the threat posed by Hamid, yet did not act proactively to forestall that threat:
. . . Street preacher Mohammed Hamid - who once told young Muslims the 52 deaths in the July 7 attacks on London were "not even breakfast to me" - groomed the would-be suicide bombers under the noses of watching police, security services and even the BBC.
Read the entire article. And this article tries to get its hands around the extent of Hamid’s activities relating to the radicalization process of Wahhabi / Salafi / Deobandi Islam:
Mohammed Hamid spent 13 years grooming hundreds of young Muslim men to fight non-believers under the noses of the police and security services and Operation Overamp set out to put that right.
Read the entire article. And lastly, there are the utterly clueless – and indeed, malignant – multiculturalists at the BBC:
A BBC producer failed to give police information that would have helped track down the July 21 bombers, the trial was told.
Read the article here. The BBC is every bit as problematic in Britain as the NYT is in the U.S., if not moreso.