December 20, 2013
Two former soldiers who firebombed a mosque following the murder of soldier Lee Rigby have each been jailed for six years. Stuart Harness, 34, and Gavin Humphries, 37, made petrol bombs and threw them at the Grimsby Islamic Cultural Centre while being filmed on CCTV cameras they thought were turned off.
They were jailed today by Judge Mark Bury at Hull Crown Court after admitting arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered at an earlier hearing.
He jailed a third defendant, Daniel Cressey – who denied aiding and abetting the other two but was found guilty by a jury – for three years.
Judge Bury said: “Whatever your feelings of outrage were, you should have allowed justice to take its course. Instead you carried out a retaliatory act of throwing petrol bombs at the Grimsby Islamic Cultural Centre. As is usual in these cases, the victims had nothing to do with the events that so enraged you. They were entirely innocent law-abiding Muslims who were practising their religion in a peaceable way.”
The Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/six-years-for-former-soldiers-who-firebombed-mosque-after-lee-rigby-murder-9018507.html
Ashraf Islam, 31, formerly known as Mark Townley, confessed to police he had “advanced plans” to kill the Prince the day after he was arrested in May. Belfast-born Islam was held the day after Drummer Lee Rigby was murdered in Woolwich, and said the fourth in line to the throne “had blood on his hands” after two tours of duty in Afghanistan.
At a sentencing hearing at Isleworth Crown Court, Lynne Townley, prosecuting, said Islam told an officer he had spent time watching soldiers on Horse Guards Parade “and planned to disarm an officer whilst disguised as a tourist rather than bringing a gun into London”.
After analysing his laptop police discovered a number of internet searches showing Islam had been researching Prince Harry’s protection team, where he lived, his royal engagements and his whereabouts.
A video found on the computer showed him making threats to kill Prince Harry to camera whilst he was in Malaysia.
Sentencing was adjourned until November 1 for an assessment of Islam’s mental health to be carried out.
10 April 2013
Mohammad Rizwan and Bahader Ali, two Birmingham gang members, pleaded guilty to plotting and preparing for acts of terrorism at Woolwich Crown Court on 10 April. Both men are from Sparkbrook, Birmingham, and planned to carry out an attack in Birmingham, the second most populated city in Britain. Police say that the gang’s plot to detonate eight rucksack bombs in crowded places would have been larger than the 7/7 bombings. In total, eleven gang members were arrested and have been either brought up on charges or convicted of planning terrorist activities and are due to be sentenced later this month. The men face life in prison.
The leader of the English Defence League has been jailed for using someone else’s passport to get into the United States.
Stephen Lennon, 30, pleaded guilty to possession of a false identity document with improper intention, contrary to the Identity Documents Act 2010, at Southwark Crown Court.
Lennon used a passport in the name of Andrew McMaster to board a Virgin Atlantic Flight from Heathrow to New York, but was caught out after his fingerprints were taken by customs officials.
He left the airport and entered the US illegally but left the country the following day, using his own passport to return to the UK.
The court heard that Lennon, who had previously been refused entry to the US, used his friend’s passport to travel to the country in September.
Last week, Winchester Crown Court dealt with a case of “honour-based domestic violence”, as the BBC reports. Two Muslim sisters (29 and 25), who cut off their younger sister’s (18) hair as a punishment for kissing a white man in April last year, were convicted of actual bodily harm. They received 12-month conditional discharges. In addition, their brother, who also witnessed the kissing and then assaulted the young man, was found guilty of assault. The Court decided that the two sisters had to pay £500 costs each; their brother was ordered to pay £250 costs. Since the attack, the youngest sibling had no contact with her sisters or parents and has been living with Gary Pain, the young man she was caught kissing last year.
As reported last week, five Muslim men had gone on trial at Derby Crown Court, as they were accused of having distributed leaflets calling for gay people to be executed. Handing out these leaflets was allegedly a breach of the new hate laws that came into force on March 2010. On Friday, three of the five men were indeed found guilty of stirring up hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation – in what the prosecutors called a “landmark case”, as it was the first of its kinds since the new legislation came into force. During the trial, the mean admitted to distributing the leaflets, but also said they were following what their religion taught them and did not intend to threaten anyone. The men will be sentenced on February 10th; they could a face a maximum sentence of up to seven years of imprisonment.
Last week, five Muslim men have gone on trial accused of having distributed leaflets calling for gay people to be executed. The Derby Crown Court heard that the group of five had allegedly handed out leaflets demanding the death penalty for homosexuality after Friday prayers at a Derby mosque and put them through people’s letterboxes in the local neighbourhood in July 2010, in the run up to the Gay Pride event. By handing out anti-gay death sentence flyers, the five men are accused of stirring up hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation, which is a breach of the new hate laws that came into force in March 2010. This prosecution is the first of its kind since the legislation came into force. The trial continues. All five men deny the charges; if they are convicted, however, they face a maximum sentence of seven years in jail and/ or an unlimited fine.
Last week, Ahmed Faraz, an Islamic bookshop owner an alleged Muslim radical from Birmingham, was sentenced to three years in prison for running a business publishing extremist texts and DVDs and distributing material that ‘encouraged terrorism’ (Daily Mail). Among the radical material distributed by Faraz was an Al Qaeda training manual and bomb-making instructions. As the Telegraph reports, it is thought that the material produced and distributed by Faraz found its way to the hands of almost every major terrorist in Britain, including the 7/7 bomber Mohammed Siddique Khan.
During trial, Faraz, an Islamic studies graduate, had claimed that the material was for academic research. However, the jurors at Kingston Crown Court found him guilty and convicted him of 11 of 15 counts against him. Judge Justice Calvert-Smith said publishing the books in the way there were was highly irresponsible, as they were published ‘to appeal to young people who had recently converted to Islam or became more religiously inclined as they got older’. Furthermore, he added the books ‘glorified terrorism. They implied approving of such attacks as 9/11 or 7/7’ (BBC).
Four police officers facing trial on charges of violently assaulting Babar Ahmad, a British Muslim terror suspect (see news coverage 05.05.2011), were cleared of any wrongdoing by a London Court on Friday. The officers were accused of beating up Ahmad and mocking his religion while arresting him in December 2003. Before the arrest, the officers had been informed that Ahmad had received terrorism training. During the trial, they denied Ahmad’s claims and insisted that he violently resisted his arrest, causing several injuries. The men’s arguments against the charges were supported by a recording from an MI5 bug that had been hidden in Ahmad’s home prior to his arrest. As the Guardian reports, according to the defence, this recording did not include any screams of agony or the alleged mocking of Ahmad’s faith by the officers. A jury at Southwark Crown Court found the police officers not guilty of the assault.
However, the trial also brought to light that two of the officers had 40 separate allegations of (racial) assaults against them between 1993 and 2007, mainly involving black or Asian men. Scotland Yard will now carry out a misconduct review and possibly consider disciplinary proceedings. Meanwhile, the four men will return to work, hopeful they can leave these allegations behind them.
On Thursday, Manchester Crown Court heard that a group of radical Muslims, led by former Taliban fighter Munir Farooq, tried to recruit young Muslims to fight in a holy war in Afghanistan, starting at Farooq’s bookstall at Longsight Market in Manchester. As part of the group’s efforts, they tried to recruit two undercover police officers, who then infiltrated the group of radicals until November 2009.
Munir Farooq and his son Harris, 27, are accused to have turned their family house into a “production centre for propaganda” for radical Islam. They were supported by two more Muslim men, who worked at the market stall and were also involved in recruiting and radicalising the undercover officers. The four men are charged with disseminating terrorist publications, engaging in the preparation for acts of terrorism and soliciting murder. They deny all charges. The trial continues.