Straw Under Fire for Linking Ethnicity to Sex Attacks

A row around race and sexual exploitation flared last night as opponents and supporters reacted to a suggestion by former home secretary Jack Straw that Pakistani men were grooming white girls for sexual abuse. The Blackburn MP made his comments on Friday night after two Asian men were sentenced that day for a series of rapes and sexual assaults on vulnerable young girls. Abid Mohammed Saddique, 27, was jailed for a minimum of 11 years at Nottingham Crown Court and Mohammed Romaan Liaqat, 28, was given eight years. The men were ringleaders of a gang who befriended girls as young as 12 in the Derby area and groomed them for sex.

Mr Straw told BBC’s Newsnight it was a “specific problem” in the Pakistani community. “These young men are in a Western society. In any event, they act like any other young men: they’re fizzing and popping with testosterone, they want some outlet for that. But Pakistani-heritage girls are off-limits and they are expected to marry a girl from Pakistan, typically. So they seek other avenues and they see these young women, white girls who are vulnerable, some of them in care… who they think are easy meat.”

Right-wing group clashes with Muslims in Luton

Scores of police had to break up clashes between members of the right-wing English Defence League (EDL) and Muslims in Luton town centre. Trouble flared after Kevin Carroll, 41, lost at appeal at Luton Crown Court to overturn a conviction for using threatening behaviour at an earlier demonstration.

Up to 80 officers had to keep a group of Carroll’s supporters, chanting ‘EDL’, separate from opposition protesters. Carroll had objected to Muslim demonstrators who had shouted abuse at British soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment, during a homecoming parade in the town in March last year.

They had shouted “British soldiers go to hell” and called them “butchers of Basra” .  Carroll verbally retaliated, swearing at the protesters and singing “bin Laden’s mother is a whore”. He was charged and subsequently convicted of using threatening words and behaviour likely to to cause fear harassment and alarm. He was given a conditional discharge.

Terror suspect student ‘had suicide vest and explosives’

A student from Bristol made explosive material and a suicide vest after converting to Islam and then becoming fascinated with the teachings of radical preachers and suicide attacks. This is what a jury at Winchester Crown Court was told today.

When police searched Isa Ibrahim’s one-bedroom flat they found the explosive HMTD (hexamethylene triperoxide diamine) in a family assorted biscuit tin in the fridge. Ingredients for the explosive and electrical equipment that could have been used to detonate it were discovered in a cupboard under the kitchen sink.

Hanging on the back of the 19-year-old’s bedroom door was a vest of the sort used by suicide bombers with panels on the front and back. Ibrahim, who changed his first name from Andrew by deed poll after converting to Islam, admits making HMTD. But he denies preparing the substance intending to endanger life or cause serious damage to property and also pleads not guilty to preparing terrorists acts, including carrying out reconnaissance on a possible target.

Muslim convert to face terror trial

A Muslim convert is to go on trial accused of preparing an act of terrorism in Rotherham. Nicholas Roddis, 22, of Reedham Drive, Bramley, will go on trial at Leeds Crown Court. He faces 13 charges, including one of engaging in preparation of an act of terrorism between April 12 last year and July 12 last year. There are also 11 counts of possessing an article for a terrorist purpose, on July 11 2007.

They relate to containers of hydrogen peroxide and acetone, a mobile phone and a computer, a quantity of nails, railway detonators, a bomb-making recipe, a diary, and a list “which included the particulars of terrorist acts”.

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Muslim revert to face terror trial

A Muslim revert is to go on trial accused of preparing an act of terrorism in Rotherham. Nicholas Roddis, 22, of Reedham Drive, Bramley, will go on trial at Leeds Crown Court. He faces 13 charges, including one of engaging in preparation of an act of terrorism between April 12 last year and July 12 last year. There are also 11 counts of possessing an article for a terrorist purpose, on July 11 2007. They relate to containers of hydrogen peroxide and acetone, a mobile phone and a computer, a quantity of nails, railway detonators, a bomb-making recipe, a diary, and a list “which included the particulars of terrorist acts”.http://themuslimweekly.com/newsdetails/fullstoryview.aspx?NewsID=40336F9421B392C3C1822300&MENUID=HOMENEWS&DESCRIPTION=UK%20News

‘Bomb plot’ wife gave false name

A suspected airline bomb plotter’s wife has told a jury she gave police a false name and lied to protect her fugitive husband’s identity. Zora Siddique said she had initially given her cousin’s name to officers and had failed to reveal Mohammed Gulzar’s identity because he was a wanted man. Prosecutors allege that Mr Gulzar and others plotted to smuggle liquid bombs disguised as drinks on to planes. Eight men deny conspiring to murder and endanger aircraft leaving the UK. Under cross-examination from prosecutor Peter Wright QC, at Woolwich Crown Court, Ms Siddique said she still considered herself married, despite Mr Gulzar’s fugitive status, and did not feel cheated, deceived or used. Asking her why she had not signed her police statement, Mr Wright said: “You were not prepared to sign anything that might compromise your husband. “Is the position that you were not prepared to do anything unless you had approval?” She replied: “I haven’t been used at all.” The court heard that the couple met at Islamabad airport in March 2006. Ms Siddique admitted she had been flattered by Mr Gulzar’s attention as he had asked for her phone number, but he had failed to tell her his name before she flew to Belgium. During the first week of their phone relationship, he had told her that his name was Ali, she added.

Jury hears ‘suicide recordings’

A jury has heard recordings in which one of eight men accused of an aircraft bomb plot is alleged to be showing another how to present a suicide video. Woolwich Crown Court heard the bugged conversations took place at an east London flat the prosecution claims the men used as their bomb factory in 2006. The jury heard that the man said in the recordings: “Don’t try and speak posh English… give a bit of aggression.” The British men deny conspiring to murder and endangering planes. It is claimed they planned to make hydrogen peroxide liquid bombs disguised as soft drinks to detonate in mid-air on at least seven passenger planes flying out of Heathrow Airport. The prosecution said the surveillance recordings were made when two of the defendants, Abdullah Ali, 27, and Umar Islam, 29, were inside the alleged bomb factory. A man, said to be Mr Ali, tells the other man to relax. “Don’t try and speak posh English… give a bit of aggression”, he says. There follows a long section where a man who calls himself Umar Islam is allegedly recording or rehearsing a suicide video which was found by police.http://themuslimweekly.com/newsdetails/fullstoryview.aspx?NewsID=3D246E972CB89FC4CF544125&MENUID=HOMENEWS&DESCRIPTION=UK%20News

‘Stop police seizing reporters’ notes’, pleads journalist

An investigative journalist found himself at odds with Greater Manchester Police (GMP) after it used the Terrorism Act 2000 to demand that he hand over the notes for his forthcoming book on Islamist extremism. Writing before Wednesday’s High Court ruling on his appeal, Shiv Malik said what was at stake here was press freedom itself. He questioned how the new terrorism laws would affect the journalists’ ability to protect sources whilst worrying over the threat of facing prosecution for withholding information from the authorities. On 19 March, officers from the GMP Counter Terrorism Unit surprised Malik with a draft production order relating to a book he is writing called Leaving Al Qaid’ah: Inside The Life And Mind Of A British Jihadist, about the life of the former Islamist radical Hassan Butt. “For legal reasons I am not allowed to state the exact nature of the order but I can say that it is wide-ranging,” he said. Malik said he received encouragement from fellow journalists such as Martin Bright from the New Statesman (who in the late Nineties had to defend himself in a similar action) to battle against the draft order. He said that while in Manchester Crown Court, he and his lawyers “discovered that, unlike the well-established provisions ingrained in the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE), schedule five of the Terrorism Act 2000 significantly lowers the protections to journalists who want to maintain the confidentiality of their sources”.http://themuslimweekly.com/newsdetails/fullstoryview.aspx?NewsID=ACD43EE77CE8CFB4DF04CED4&MENUID=HOMENEWS&DESCRIPTION=UK%20News

Suspect ‘vowed lesson for West’

The suspected leader of an alleged plot to blow up transatlantic planes mid-air promised to teach the West a “lesson they will never forget”, a court heard. Abdulla Ahmed Ali, 27, made the vow during the 16-minute “martyrdom” video played at Woolwich Crown Court. Prosecutors say eight men planned to kill thousands by detonating home-made bombs, disguised as soft drinks, aboard flights to North America. All deny conspiring to murder and endangering planes in 2006. ‘Time has come’ Jurors were shown footage of what prosecutors said was Mr Ali wearing a black and white headscarf, against a backdrop of a black flag covered with Arabic writing. In the video, he said: “This the opportunity to punish and humiliate the kuffar [unbelievers], to teach them a lesson they will never forget.

London bomber’s video to daughter played in UK court

The ringleader of London’s 2005 suicide bombers recorded a video for his daughter when he left for Pakistan on a previous mission expecting to die, a prosecutor said on Thursday. The video, never previously shown in public, was played at the trial of three men accused of undertaking reconnaissance for the July 7 attacks on London transport which killed 52 people. Mohammad Sidique Khan, leader of the four suicide bombers, recorded the video to say goodbye to his baby daughter Maryam before he left on a visit to Pakistan in November 2004. Prosecutor Neil Flewitt told Kingston Crown Court in southwest London that Khan recorded the video because he was preparing to die while fighting jihad in Afghanistan. But he later changed his mind and used the visit to start planning for the London attacks, Flewitt said. “Sweetheart, not long to go now. And I’m going to really, really miss you a lot,” Khan says into the camera while he holds his daughter. “I’m doing what I am doing for the sake of Islam, not, you know, it’s not for materialistic or worldly benefits.” Flewitt said it was clear from the video that Khan did not expect to see his daughter again. “Put bluntly, he knew that he was going to his death and he went voluntarily then, as he went willingly when he blew himself up on the July 7, 2005,” he added. Andrew Hough reports.