The six would-be terrorists who planned to attack a far-right demonstration using knives, machetes and a homemade bomb were reacting to violence and intimidation aimed at provoking the UK’s Muslim population, a court has heard. In mitigation, Joel Bennathan QC, defending, said the six men, who have already pleaded guilty to plotting an attack on an English Defence League (EDL) demonstration in Dewsbury last year, were amateurish and “hopelessly incompetent”. He told the Old Bailey on Friday that although the “great bulk” of the Muslim community had the sense to ignore the activities of the EDL, this group – who were “not particularly intellectual” – reacted to a series of EDL demonstrations targeting Muslim areas that were provocative, insulting and intimidating.
Omar Khan, 28, Mohammed Saud, 23, Jewel Uddin, 27, Zohaib Ahmed, 22, and Anzal Hussain, 25, pleaded guilty at Woolwich crown court to engaging in preparation for acts of terrorism. A sixth man, Mohammed Hasseen, 23, pleaded guilty to the same offence and possessing a document likely to be of use to a person preparing or committing an act of terrorism.
The court heard the mission was only abandoned when the group turned up after the EDL demonstration had finished.
Earlier the court heard that the planned attack would have led “to a tit-for-tat spiral of violence and terror” that would have reverberated around the country if it had gone ahead.
Mr Bennathan said the EDL fitted in with a long tradition of right wing groups antagonising Muslims and that the incident was not so much a terrorist incident but a domestic dispute. Despite the use of Jihadist language in their note, he said: “This was undoubtedly a domestic bit of planned violence by young British men reacting to the calculated insults of other young British men.” He said the men had no intention to kill anyone and that the whole group now accept that everyone has a right to air their views whether insulting or not. He said: “There is an acceptance now that people living in a liberal democracy in the UK have a right to express views even if other people disagree with those views or find them upsetting.”
The court was told yesterday how the group wanted to start a race war with an army of young Muslim martyrs. The plot was only narrowly averted by the group’s own incompetence and sheer luck.
If the Home Secretary wins her battle to deport Abu Qatada, it will be based on the assumption that he will not be abused. In Amman, Enjoli Liston hears from those who have strong reasons to doubt it. Abdullah Mahhaden was arrested around four hours after he managed to escape from a police crackdown on an anti-government protest in Amman on 31 March 2012. The demonstration had been calling for the release of seven activists. The 25 year-old accountant-turned-activists had wanted to make his voice heard. He ended up at the city’s main police station, where he says he was beaten by as many as 20 police officers. “I was the last one to get caught that night,” Mahhaden told The Independent. “The police started asking me, ‘Why were you demonstrating? How did you know about the demonstration? Who organised it?’ I said, ‘I forget’, so they beat me. The Home Secretary, Theresa May, said this week the Government had signed a mutual assistance treaty with Jordan, complete with new assurances on fair trials, to ensure Abu Qatada can be deported even if the Government’s latest appeal to the Supreme Court is blocked. Hossam al-Kaid, from Aleppo, who studied law in Syria, also works in Amman and agrees: “In Jordan, there is a fear of people like Abu Qatada.” He says he would rather the radical cleric stay in the UK, but if he were to be sent back to Jordan, he believes he would receive a fair trial. Human rights advocates continue to claim otherwise. “Jordanian law already proscribes torture and the use of confessions obtained under duress, yet judges routinely accept these confessions,” says Adam Coogle, Middle East researcher for Human Rights Watch. The organisation has in the past both praised the Jordanian government for its openness towards investigating human rights abuses in prisons, and criticised its insistence on paying little attention to the results of the investigations. Many Jordanians believe Abu Qatada should remain in the UK. “If England gives back Abu Qatada, it is like a gift for the Jordanian government,” he says. “It is like the English government sending a message to the world that it has ensured that there is no torture in Jordan. And that is not the truth.”
13 January 2013
Around 60 Salafi Muslims gathered in front of the French Embassy in London to protest against French interventions in Mali. The protestors held placards reading “Ban Ki-moon Terrorist” and “French army, you will pay, the Muslims are on their way” during the demonstration on Saturday.
A speaker expressed his anger by saying that “We got rid of some of our dictators– Ben Ali, Mubarak, and al-Qadhafi. But now it’s time for the dictators in Mali, in Pakistan, in Bangladesh, and all over Muslim lands to be removed and replaced by the shariah, by Islam,”
28 October 2012
Muslims gathered at Stockton’s Muslim Welfare Trust to register their protest against the movie Innocence of Muslims. According to the organizers the demonstration was organized in order to give Teesside’s Muslim community the chance to voice their concerns over the movie.
Mahroof Hussein, Treasurer of the Muslim Welfare Trust, said: “We wanted to make sure this was a peaceful demonstration. We decided not to take to the streets because we wanted to avoid any conflict and wanted to get our point across through a peaceful gathering and the lobbying of our MPs”
Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham and Hartlepool counterpart Iain Wright along with Middlesbrough Councillor, Barry Coppinger, participated in the event. They agreed to deliver a petition on behalf of the Muslim community to the Houses of Parliament regarding their concerns.
Further, a Muslim group called Jammat-e ahle Sunnat UK issued a warning that the movie is “encouraging and promoting racial and religious hate crime”.
News Agencies – October 20, 2012
Dozens of far right extremists stormed atop an unfinished mosque in western France to show their hostility toward it and denounce immigration that has brought millions of Muslims into the country, a regional official said. About 70 protesters traveled from around France for the demonstration in the city of Poitiers, which has symbolic meaning as the place where a French medieval ruler once drove away Arab invaders, regional prefect Yves Dassonville said by phone. After police arrived, the protesters dispersed without resistance – and three were detained to face accusations of “incitement of racial hatred” and damage to property, he said.
French TV broadcast images of dozens of rowdy, waving and chanting protesters on the mosque roof next to its minaret. Muslim leaders said the protesters had disrupted a prayer inside, and expressed incomprehension over the stunt.
14 October 2012
Muslim Action Forum, which was formed by Muslim groups in the UK in response to the anti-Islamic movie held a fresh demonstration outside the Google headquarters in London. Around 10000 Muslims attended the demonstration to urge Google to ban the anti-Islamic movie, Innocence of Muslims.
Buckingham Palace Road in Victoria was closed for three hours on Sunday afternoon by police during the peaceful protest. As many as 800 imams in mosques across Britain helped to organise the protest. The protesters outside Google headquarters carried placards reading “Campaign for Global Civility” and “Don’t they teach manners in Google”.
One of the speakers, Sheikh Faiz Al-Aqtab Siddiqui, said: “Terrorism is not just people who kill human bodies, but who kill human feelings as well. The makers of this film have terrorised 1.6 billion people. Organisations like Google are key players and have to take responsibility for civility. You can’t just say it doesn’t matter that it’s freedom of speech. It’s anarchy.”
Google said the video is “clearly within our guidelines and so will stay on YouTube”, although it has been removed Libya, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and India.
Meanwhile, according to the Telegraph the makers of the movie, along with the Pakistani Minister who has offered a bounty for the killing of the makers of the movie have now been banned from entering the UK.
An Egyptian-American columnist, who rose to prominence on social media last year for her commentary during the revolution in Egypt, was arrested in the Times Square subway station on Tuesday for spraying pink paint on a pro-Israel poster that calls Islamist opponents of the Jewish state “savage.”
The poster was one of 10 placed in subway stations across the transit system this week, on the heels of violent and sometimes deadly protests across the Muslim world in response to an American-made video mocking the Prophet Muhammad.
The columnist, Mona Eltahawy, is a former Reuters correspondent now based in New York who became a dual citizen of Egypt and the United States last year. Her Twitter feed, which has more than 160,000 followers, became popular last year as a source of information on the Egyptian revolution.
Ms. Eltahawy, initially known for her commentary on the Egyptian revolution from afar, became personally involved in the protest movement last November, when she used her Twitter feed to document her physical and sexual abuse by Egyptian police officers following a crackdown on a demonstration near Tahrir Square in Cairo.
In May, she earned the enmity of many Egyptians for writing a Foreign Policy cover story on women’s rights in the Middle East published with the headline “Why Do They Hate Us?”
News of Ms. Eltahawy’s arrest made headlines in Egypt and earned her praise from like-minded Internet activists. A Lebanese blogger, who was less impressed with the stunt, wrote a satirical blog post accusing Ms. Eltahawy of attention-seeking.
24 September 2012
The Islamic Commission of Melilla (CIM) has called for a demonstration on Saturday to protest against the movie and the cartoons that offend the Prophet Muhammad. The protest, which will leave at 18.00 from the Central Mosque to the Plaza of Spain, will be supported by the main opposition party in the Assembly of the Autonomous City, the Coalition for Melilla (CPM).
News Agencies – September 16, 2012-09-16
French police detained around 100 alleged Salafist Muslims on Saturday, September 15th for taking part in an unauthorized demonstration outside the US embassy in Paris. The crowd was protesting a US-made film that has sparked global unrest. Dozens of men, women and children who police said were possibly linked to Salafists, “demonstrated violently around the US embassy and clashed with police”.
Two or three officers were slightly hurt in the protest. Most of those detained were men, said police. The president of the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) denounced the Paris protest. “We regret that this demonstration occurred, especially if violent force was used against the police,” Mohamed Moussaoui told AFP.
The last several days have seen a wave of anti-American protests across the globe, sparked by the US-produced “Innocence of Muslims” film. The film, excerpts of which were posted on the Internet, have offended many Muslims because of its insulting depiction of the Prophet Mohammed.
15 September 2012
A planned demonstration involving about 30 people took place on Amsterdam’s Dam Square on 14 September, protesting the American-made film Innocence of Muslims. Local media provided commentary on the movie and the international response of the past week, with Radio Netherlands Worldwide attributing the violent events to “a dismal misunderstanding” in which “the work of an extremist individual [the filmmaker]” is taken as representative of the American nation. Dutch News reports that in anticipation of the demonstration the American consulate on Amsterdam’s Museumplein, as well as two schools in the neighborhood, closed early.