Cradling his baby daughter in his arms, the ringleader of the July 7 suicide bombers says goodbye to her in an extraordinary family video. At one stage, an emotional Mohammed Sidique Khan appears to be preparing six- month- old Maryam for a future as a terrorist, urging her: “Learn to fight, fighting is good.” He added: “Be mummy’s best friend. Take care of mummy – you can both do things together like fighting and stuff.”
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.
Six Islamic fanatics recorded violent martyrdom videos as they prepared a terrorist attack on transatlantic aircraft, a court heard today. The gang’s leader told Western leaders to “stop meddling in our affairs” or body parts will be left “decorating the streets”, a jury heard. Another alleged bomber’s video message appeared to address the British public, accusing them of being too busy watching EastEnders and Home And Away to “care about anything”. Prosecutors said defendant Abdulla Ahmed Ali was willing to carry a home-made liquid bomb aboard a flight to north America and detonate it himself. Ali is one of eight men on trial accused of conspiring to murder and to endanger aircraft at Woolwich Crown Court in south-east London. They deny the charges. Prosecutor Peter Wright QC said the gang considered other targets in addition to at least seven flights leaving from London Heathrow airport within hours of each other. He said there was evidence Canary Wharf, a gas pipeline between Belgium and the UK, chemical companies, oil refineries and other UK airports were possible targets. The jury also heard how the gang stockpiled materials for their home-made liquid devices which were to be smuggled on to aircraft disguised as 500ml soft drinks.
A Belgian court convicted five Islamist militants of belonging to a group that was active in recruiting suicide bombers into Iraq. Bilal Soughir, currently in detention, was sentenced to ten years in prison for being a ringleader of the operation. Four other men tried in absentia were also sentenced for organizing and aiding the plans, with sentenced from 28 months to five years.
LONDON (AFP) – British Muslims said they feared police were operating under a “shoot to kill” policy after a man was gunned down at an Underground train station following a new wave of bomb attacks. Muslims said the shooting deepened their anxiety about a violent backlash against their community in the wake of two sets of bomb attacks blamed on Islamist militants, including one that killed 56 people on July 7. The Muslim Council of Britain demanded police explain why an Asian-looking man, reported as a “suspected suicide bomber” by Sky News, was shot dead at Stockwell station in south London on Friday. Police have confirmed that officers pursued and shot a man who was pronounced dead at the scene, but have offered no explanation for the shooting. The incident came a day after another apparent wave of would-be suicide bombers hit London’s mass transport system, two weeks after four suspected Islamist suicide bombers on trains and a bus killed 56 people. No one was injured in Thursday’s attacks after the bombs apparently failed to go off. A website statement purportedly from the Al-Qaeda terror network claimed responsibility for the attacks Friday but this has not been confirmed. A Muslim Council spokesman said Muslims were “jumpy and nervous” and feared reprisal attacks. “I have just had one phone call saying ‘What if I was carrying a rucksack?’,” said Inayat Bunglawala, referring to the rucksack bombs used in the London attacks. “It’s vital the police give a statement about what occurred (at Stockwell) and explain why the man was shot dead,” Bunglawala said. “We are getting phone calls from quite a lot of Muslims who are distressed about what may be a shoot-to-kill policy.” Witnesses told Sky News that police shot the man five times at close range after shouting at him to stop. Others described seeing many heavily armed plainclothes officers in unmarked cars at the scene. “There may well be reasons why the police felt it necessary to unload five shots into the man and shoot him dead, but they need to make those reasons clear,” Bunglawala said. The shooting is the latest in a series of incidents which have threatened to create a rift between Britain’s large Muslim community and the rest of the population in the wake of the terrorist attacks here this month. Some radical British Muslim preachers have blamed the government’s Middle East policy and the British-backed invasion of Iraq for the outrages, although the vast majority of British Muslims have condemned the bombings. “Unless British foreign policy is changed and they withdraw forces from Iraq, I’m afraid there’s going to be a lot of attacks, just the way it happened in Madrid and the way it happened in London,” radical British Muslim preacher Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed told the New York Times this week. The government is drafting a range of tough new laws to crack down on Islamic extremism and those who advocate terrorism, including setting up special intelligence units to monitor Muslims nationwide. Prime Minister Tony Blair called Tuesday on Britain’s Muslim community to confront the “evil ideology” behind terrorism following a meeting with leaders from Islamic groups. In another incident Friday, armed police briefly threw a cordon around a mosque in east London, while the home of a Muslim convert identified as one of the suspected July 7 suicide bombers was sealed off after a suspected arson attack. Analysts said the officers involved in the Stockwell shooting did not appear to be operating according to normal procedures. “These guys may have been some sort of plainclothes special forces,” said terrorism expert Professor Michael Clarke. “To have bullets pumped into him like this suggests quite a lot about him and what the authorities, whoever they are, assumed about him.” Professor Paul Rogers of Bradford University said the shooting had parallels with the “very strong” methods used by Israeli security forces and US troops in Iraq. “The kind of tactics the Met (Metropolitan police) appear to have used this morning are very similar to the very tough tactics that the Israelis use against suspected suicide bombers,” he said. “It’s like a bad dream,” Mr. Zafar said. “Someone, crazy guys, make brainwashing.” He added, “We need protection. Like, every week, two times a week, all youngsters in community should go together, and someone is teaching them, ‘This should no happen again.’ ” So far, there is little research and less agreement on how well Muslim newcomers are assimilating as Americans, say scholars like Mr. Skerry, who is associated with the Brookings Institute, and Robert S. Leiken, the director of Immigration and National Security at the Nixon Center. “The whole issue of assimilation and integration in relation to terrorism is extremely complicated,” Mr. Leiken cautioned, noting that more terrorists have turned out to be social winners from an educated middle class, rather than impoverished losers. “Integration may be going well, but there are people who assimilate as critics, as revolutionaries.” There is general agreement, he said, that since 9/11, larger numbers of young Muslims in the United States feel victimized, resentful and alienated, but that is where the consensus ends. “Some people hold that Muslims are integrating in just the same ways that other American immigrants have integrated,” he said. “Others see a process of radical Islamicization.” Once children born to Pakistani, Egyptian or Iraqi immigrants might simply have found a dual identity in a hyphenated bridge to their parents’ national origins. But Mr. Skerry, who has been interviewing such immigrants across the country, said events since 9/11 – special registration programs, the Patriot Act and the war in Iraq – almost require even secular families in this second generation to construct an American identity as Muslims. Partha Banerjee, director of the New Jersey Immigration Policy Network, an immigrant advocacy organization, warned of a growing sense of political exclusion among such immigrants, who are facing an anti-immigrant backlash with virtually no elected officials from their own ethnic group. Income statistics in New Jersey hide sharp disparities, he noted, like the chasm between suburban sahibs in places like Somerset, the nation’s most affluent county, and poor Pakistanis and Bangladeshis in crowded Jersey City households. “Violence and terrorism really have no place in a civilized society and I’m not condoning any type of excuse for it,” Mr. Banerjee stressed. “But the fact remains that if you just exploit and abuse people without giving them their rights, you run the risk of creating a danger in your own society.” In Jersey City, where more than a third of residents are foreign-born, there are no hard-edge ethnic enclaves. A policeman pointed out the second-floor mosque where Omar Abdul Rahman, the blind sheik, used to preach and plot to blow up New York landmarks; it sits over a Chinese takeout restaurant now. A short walk from Mr. Zafar’s shop on Newark Avenue on a recent Friday morning, Haitian families in starched finery entered an old movie palace for a convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses. At the beauty parlor nearby, everyone was speaking Spanish. And down the block, Indian, Pakistani and Chinese immigrants of different faiths flocked to Patel’s Cash and Carry for sacks of rice advertised in an all-American way: “Buy two, get one free.” Fauazia Modak, 26, a Muslim immigrant from Bombay, paused in her shopping to protest what she said were harsh government immigration policies that seemed to blame all Muslims for the crimes of a few. Then she smiled at her son Mizan, just under 2. “I don’t think the children over here would be brainwashed,” she said, leaning over his stroller. “I want him to be religious, but I want him to respect all religions. Not just his religion, not just his country.”
LONDON (AFP) – Around a quarter of British Muslims have some sympathy with the motives of the London bombers, if not their methods, while a third believe Western society is “immoral,” according to a new poll. The survey in the Daily Telegraph asked the Muslim-only respondents whether they felt the July 7 blasts in which 56 peopled died, including the suicide bombers, were “justified”, to which six percent said they were. In contrast, 71 percent said they were not justified at all, with 11 percent saying they were “on balance” not justified. However, when asked whether they had sympathy with the “feelings and motives” of the four British Muslim bombers, disregarding their methods, 13 percent said they had a lot of sympathy and a further 11 percent had a little. While 81 percent said they were fairly loyal or very loyal to Britain, the survey also found some equivocal feelings towards Western society more generally. Just one percent of the respondents agreed with the statement: “Western society is decadent and immoral, and Muslims should seek to bring it to an end, if necessary by violence.” However, another 31 percent backed the sentiment when the reference to violence was replaced by “but only by non-violent means”. In a similar poll for The Sun newspaper, 91 percent of the all-Muslim respondents said they did not feel the suicide bombings were justified by the Koran, the Islamic holy book. Just over half felt Islam was compatible with modern British society, but a similar number felt that the attacks ran the risk of turning other communities against British Muslims.
Islamic cleric Yusuf Al-Qaradawi is due to address a conference on Sunday supported by the Metropolitan Police. Controversy has surrounded his visit to the UK amid claims by Jewish community leaders he threatens race relations. But the cleric has been allowed to speak after the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said it would not act over his defence of Palestinian suicide bombers in Israel as “martyrs”. He is expected to speak at the Wembley Conference Centre in London.