Terror lawyer bribe probe dropped

Police have dropped a bribery probe into one of the leading UK lawyers who represents terrorism suspects. Mudassar Arani was accused of sending cash to a defendant whom she did not represent in the 21 July London trial. The solicitor, who had represented three of the failed bombers, now jailed, denied pressuring another defendant to change his story. In a statement, the Metropolitan Police said there was insufficient evidence to continue investigating the claim. The force said it had been asked in August 2007 to look into allegations made during the trial of the six men accused of organising and perpetrating the botched London suicide bombings of 21 July 2005. “The Specialist Crime Directorate has scoped the allegations and reviewed the material that came out of the trial,” said the statement. “As a result the Metropolitan Police Service has decided that there is insufficient evidence to launch a criminal investigation and therefore will be taking no further action in connection with this matter.”

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Top Police Chief: We must start Negotiating with Al-Qaeda Now to Stop Terror

A police chief was slapped down by the Government yesterday for suggesting Britain could open talks with Al Qaeda. Sir Hugh Orde, head of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, said he knew of no terror campaign that had not ended with negotiation. And he said his 30 years spent tackling the IRA had convinced him that security work and arrests were not enough to defeat terrorists. But his suggestion was immediately dismissed by the Foreign Office. A spokesman said: ‘It is inconceivable that Her Majesty’s Government would ever seek to reach a mutually acceptable accommodation with a terrorist organisation like Al Qaeda.’ Jonathan Powell, ex-chief of staff at Downing Street, also says the Ulster peace deal shows talking to terror groups can work. He said negotiating with Al Qaeda might seem pointless now, but a political solution would be needed in the end. Sir Hugh, a leading contender to take over from Sir Ian Blair as chief of the Metropolitan Police, said: ‘If you want my professional assessment of any terrorism campaign, what fixes it is talking and engaging and judging when the conditions are right for that to take place.’

Senior Muslim officer is promoted

One of the country’s most senior Muslim police officers has been promoted by the Metropolitan Police. Ali Dizaei is now a Commander and can now join the Association of Chief Police Officers, having previously been a Chief Superintendent. He was at the centre of a four-year _4m investigation over allegations of perverting the course of justice and misconduct in public office. He was cleared of the charges by the Old Bailey in 2003. Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair apologised for the _4m probe into Commander Dizaei, saying it had caused “considerable damage” within the force. Commander Dizaei has been an outspoken critic of institutional racism in the service, stop and search and the need for Muslims to help in the fight against terrorism. This was his fourth attempt to become a chief officer.http://www.themuslimweekly.com/newsdetails/fullstoryview.aspx?NewsID=262D75BE37DDF57E66CCB68E&MENUID=HOMENEWS&DESCRIPTION=UK%20News

MI5 targets four Met police officers ‘working as Al Qaeda spies’

Four police officers in Britain’s top force are reportedly under close secret service surveillance after being identified as Al Qaeda spies, it emerged today. MI5 are said to have homed in on the the “sleeper” agents passing secrets from Scotland Yard to the terror group only in recent weeks. The suspected spies are believed to have used methods similar to those employed by the IRA in the 1970s as they infiltrated the police and the Army in Northern Ireland. All four are understood to be Asians living in London and are feared to have links both with Islamic extremists in Britain and worldwide terror groups – including Al Qaeda training camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan. MI5 chiefs reportedly believe the suspected moles have been planted as sleepers – agents under deep cover – to keep Al Qaeda informed of anti-terror raids planned by London’s Metropolitan Police. They are said to fear the four could have already accessed sensitive information about secret operations to root out terror cells planning further attacks in the UK.

Student’s call to murder ‘the infidel’ faces jail

An accountancy student accused of calling on Muslims in Merseyside to kill non-believers denied soliciting to murder, it was reported this week. Malcolm Hodges, 43, allegedly sent letters to mosques and Islamic groups across the country on November 3 last year. Faxed to organisations including the Liverpool Muslim Society, the documents are said to have encouraged the recipients to murder “the infidel”. The accused was arrested by Metropolitan Police counter-terrorism officers in April this year.http://themuslimweekly.com/fullstoryview.aspx?NewsID=F57CA56EE76D4431A26340EC&MENUID=INTNEWS&DESCRIPTION=International%20News

Concern grows in Britain over the practice of female genital mutilation

Female genital mutilation, commonly associated with parts of Africa and the Middle East, is becoming a growing problem in Britain despite efforts to stamp it out. London’s Metropolitan Police, Britain’s largest police force, hopes a campaign beginning on Wednesday will highlight that the practice is a crime here. To make their point, police are offering a $40,000 reward for information leading to Britain’s first prosecution for female genital mutilation, Detective Chief Superintendent Alastair Jeffrey said. In Britain, the problem mostly involves first-generation immigrants from Africa and the Middle East. Police say they don’t have comprehensive statistics about the number of victims. But midwife Comfort Momoh, who specializes in treating them at London hospitals and clinics and who works with police, told the news conference she treats 400 to 500 victims every year.

UK May Charge Clerics With Treason

LONDON, England (AP) — British prosecutors say they are considering treason charges against any Islamic extremists who express support for terrorism. Attorney General Lord Goldsmith’s office said the Crown Prosecution Service’s head of anti-terrorism would meet with senior Metropolitan Police officers to discuss possible charges against three prominent clerics as part of a crackdown on those the government believes are inciting terrorism. Clerics Omar Bakri Mohammed, Abu Izzaden and Abu Uzair, have appeared on British television in recent days. Goldsmith’s office said prosecutors and police would look at remarks made by the three and consider whether they could face charges of treason, incitement to treason, solicitation of murder, or incitement to withhold information known to be of use to police. Bakri Mohammed has reportedly said since the July 7 attacks that he would not inform police if he knew Muslims were planning another attack and he supports insurgents who attack troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. “No decision on charges has been made yet,” the attorney general’s office spokeswoman said, speaking anonymously because British civil servants cannot be named. The spokeswoman said prosecutors may also seek access to taped recordings made by an undercover Sunday Times reporter who reportedly recorded members of a radical group praising the suicide bombers as “The Fantastic Four.” The newspaper’s story said its reporter spent two months as a “recruit” of the group, the Savior Sect, and described the organization as inciting young British Muslims to become terrorists.

Leading Muslim Tells British Faithful: Abandon Hijab

LONDON (AFP) – A leading moderate Muslim in Britain advised women against wearing the Islamic veil for safety reasons in the aftermath of the London bombings. “A woman wearing the hijab in the present circumstances could suffer aggression from irresponsible elements. Therefore, she ought not to wear it,” said Zaki Badawi, chairman of the Council of Mosques and Imams and head of the Muslim College in London. The Egyptian-born leader made the call amid fears that Muslims could be targeted in a backlash over the July attacks. London’s Metropolitan Police said faith hate crimes were up 600 percent on the same period last year after the attacks. “In the present tense situation, with the rise of attacks on Muslims, we advise Muslim women who fear being attacked physically or verbally to remove their hijab so as not to be identified by those who are hostile to Muslims,” said Badawi. The July 7 attacks were perpetrated by four British Muslims. They blew up themselves and 52 others in three blasts on the London Underground and one on a bus. A repeat attempt by another gang of four men failed when the bombs failed to detonate fully. Badawi said the Koran justified removing the hijab, as it instructed women to dress so they could be “identified and not molested”. “The preservation of life and limb has a much higher priority than appearance, whether in dress or in speech,” he added. Badawi was denied entry to the United States with no explanation a week after the deadly attacks but accepted an unreserved apology offered later. He was due to speak in New York on the law and Islam.

Man Shot Dead ‘Not Connected To Terror Attacks’

The man shot dead on an Underground train in south London on Friday was not connected to attempted terror attacks on the capital, said police. The statement came as it emerged that police have been given secret new shoot-to-kill guidelines in recent weeks. The dead man was named as Jean Charles de Menezes, a 27-year old electrician from Brazil. Mr Menezes, who lived in Brixton, south London, had been working legally in Britain for three years. This is a tragedy. The Metropolitan Police accepts full responsibility for this. To the family I can only express my deep regrets, Sir Ian Blair, Metropolitan Police Commissioner, told Sky News on Sunday. The shooting happened in Stockwell on Friday morning when armed plain clothes police officers shot a man as he tried to board a train at the Underground station. He had emerged from a house under surveillance following Thursday’s attempted bomb attacks on three Tube trains and a bus. New shoot-to-kill guidelines for armed police and surveillance officers confronting suspected suicide terrorists advise them to shoot to the head and not the body in case the suspect has a bomb. Sir Ian on Sunday admitted the police had a shoot-to-kill policy to deal with suicide bombers and that it would continue. Somebody else could be shot. But everything is done to make it right,” he said. Friday morning’s shooting at Stockwell came as the hunt continued for terrorists behind bomb attacks that have killed more than 50 people. Over the weekend police questioned two men arrested in connection with the attacks. The admission by the police that the dead man was not connected to the terror attacks will stoke debate over counter-terrorism tactics and the implication that police were operating a so-called shoot-to-kill policy against suspected terrorists. On Friday night the London-based Islamic Human Rights Commission called for a public enquiry into the shooting in Stockwell. This is an extra-judicial killing by police who have been trained in shoot-to-kill, it said. The police now face inquiries into their actions that could hit morale, and the Independent Police Complaints Commission is investigating the Stockwell shooting. Sir Ian said the force was confronting what he called its greatest operational challenge ever. They faced previously unknown threats and great danger, he added as he appealed for the understanding of all communities. Sir Ian said the dead man had been challenged and refused to obey police instructions. Police raided at least three addresses in London on Friday and made two arrests. Police Issue Pictures Of Four Bomb Suspects Police released closed circuit TV pictures of the four suspects and sought public assistance as forensic work continued on what appeared to be home-made explosive devices used on Thursday. A spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers said on Friday night a special project group had developed operational tactics to help police respond swiftly and effectively to such threats. The guidelines were secretly developed in consultation with police forces including Israel, Russia and the US.

Outcry As British Muslims Are Blamed

By MICHAEL SETTLE and BILLY BRIGGS LORD Stevens, former chief of the Metropolitan Police, was last night accused of stirring up racial hatred after he claimed British Muslim extremists were “almost certainly” responsible for the London bombings. Massoud Shadjareh, chairman of the Islamic Human Rights Commission in London, insisted the ex-police chief’s claims were unfounded and threw suspicion on all Muslims in the UK. “He has, without doubt, stirred up racial tensions at a time when we need unity.” Sir Iqbal Sacranie, general secretary of the Muslim Council of Britain, added: “I cannot imagine what prompted him to make these comments. Up until recently he has been working in an organisation that is trying hard to improve race relations, then he says something as problematic and unhelpful as this. It simply amazes me.” Police said yesterday there had been some incidents of religious or racially motivated hate crime since the attacks and one report involving a serious injury, although they gave no further details. In a newspaper article, headlined: “Young, clever . . . and British,” Lord Stevens wrote that any hope the attackers came from abroad was “dangerous wishful thinking”. He argued: “I’m afraid there’s a sufficient number of people in this country willing to be Islamic terrorists that they don’t have to be drafted in from abroad. “We have already convicted two British shoe bombers, Richard Reid and Saajid Badat, and there were the two British suicide bombers, Asif Hanif and Omar Sharif, who killed themselves in Israel.” The bombers, suggested the ex-police chief, would be “apparently ordinary British citizens, young men conservatively and cleanly dressed and probably with some higher education. Highly computer literate, they will have used the internet to research explosives, chemicals and electronics. They are also willing to kill without mercy – and to take a long time in their planning. They are painstaking, cautious, clever, and very sophisticated.” Lord Stevens claimed up to 3000 British-born or British-based people passed through Osama bin Laden’s training camps over the years. “Plainly not all went on to become active Islamic terrorists back in the UK. But some have. And others have passed on their training to the next generation.” He forecast the bombings would “unleash a tidal wave” of information from the Muslim community. However, Mr Shadjareh said Lord Stevens’s report “suggests there is a network of conspiracy among us and that many of us knew what was going on, rather than the fact this was done by a few misguided individuals”. He added: “Lord Stevens’s past as commissioner of the Metropolitan Police adds an air of reality to what he says, but where is his evidence? All this article does is justify anti-Islamic attacks.” George Galloway, the anti-Iraq war MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, also dismissed the peer’s claims. “He had no idea who carried this atrocity out, whether they were home-grown or flew in that morning . . . he wasn’t the commissioner on the day the explosion occurred, he is a retired police officer. He has no idea who carried out that crime. I would rather listen to the existing commissioner,” said the former Glasgow back-bencher. Asked at a press conference about the former Met chief’s comments, Brian Paddick, deputy assistant commissioner, said: “We are aware of Lord Stevens’s comments. Clearly, we are not ruling out any possibility as to who these suspects are.” Later, a spokesman for the Church of England came to Lord Stevens’s defence, saying it respected his authority on terrorism and his views expressed in the newspaper. “Lord Stevens is quite clearly talking about extremists, not the bulk of the Muslim community. What he is saying is something no-one would challenge. These are extremists and they do not adhere to the beliefs that members of the faith do. He has a far greater experience than most people on the matter.” The Association of Chief Police Officers in England said community relations in Britain were “reassuringly calm” in the wake of the attacks. Incidents reported by individual police forces included arson attacks on mosques in Leeds, Belvedere, Telford and Birkenhead which caused little damage. In addition, there was evidence of some verbal abuse in the street, and some criminal damage to cars, businesses and homes.