Mohamed Hamid: From petty criminal to tutor of terrorists

Preacher, described as ‘dangerously charming’, progressed from shoplifting to turning young men into jihadists. When Mohamed Hamid had his first brush with criminality, it saw him thieving a tin of sweetcorn and a packet of fishfingers. By the time he had finished, he had become one of Britain’s most prominent recruiting sergeants for Islamist extremism.

 

But while the man who told once told a police officer arresting him during a row in London’s Oxford’s street that his name was “Osama Bin London” insisted he dealt only in theology, his real stock in trade was providing the ideological groundwork for terrorism.

 

In his early 30s, he became a crack addict. After a redemptive trip to a mosque, Hamid rediscovered a version of his faith and opened an Islamic bookshop in the Clapton area of east London as well as attending rallies at Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

 

It was at this point that he became increasingly radical and voluble, becoming involved with the coterie surrounding notorious cleric Abu Hamza. The judge in his trial, Mr Justice Pitchers, told him: “Mohammed Hamid, you are, in my judgement, dangerous. You can be quite genuinely amusing and charming. You also have real knowledge of the Koran and Islamic teaching. However, that is only one side of you.”

 

“You used your charm and knowledge of the Koran to influence others to terrorism… You continue to be a danger, not directly from your own actions, but from your ability to persuade others by criminal actions to commit terrorism offences themselves.”

 

Terror grooming camp leaders jailed

The two ringleaders of a British al-Qaeda-style terrorist recruitment and training cell, who organised terror camps in beauty spots around the UK, were jailed today. Mohammed Hamid – who once called himself “Osama bin London” – and Atilla Ahmet both groomed impressionable young Muslim men to fight jihad against non-believers. Among their followers were several of the failed suicide bombers who attacked the capital on July 21, 2005. Hamid, 50, who organised brain-washing talks at his home in east London, was jailed indefinitely with a minimum term of seven-and-a-half years. Ahmet, 44, the self-styled emir of the gang and a former senior aide of Abu Hamza, was jailed for six years and 11 months at Woolwich Crown Court. Mr Justice Pitchers, the trial judge, told Hamid that he will continue to be a danger to the public because of his ability to persuade others to commit terrorism.