On Wednesday, four British men have pleaded guilty to involvement in plotting to bomb the London Stock Exchange as part of a series of al Qaeda-inspired attacks across London leading up to Christmas 2010. In total, a group of nine men, fuelled by radical Islamic thought, were brought together through radical Islamist groups and developed the plans to attack the stock exchange and other high-profile targets, such as Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, London Eye, and the US Embassy. However, British authorities had learned of the plot and put the men under surveillance. They were arrested in raids in December 2010. Initially, they had denied all charges.
The four men who pleaded guilty emphasised that they had not planned to kill anyone, but only to cause terror and economic harm and disruption. They could now face a prison-sentence of up to 18 years, with actual time in jail of around 6 years. They will be sentenced next week.
19 April 2011
A recently formed group, Muslims Against Crusade, have called for a forceful protest on the wedding day of Prince William and Kate Middleton. The group was formed after radical Islam4UK was banned last year, which in turn was a successor to the outlawed group Al Muhajiroun, and although radical Anjem Choudary plays a role in all three movements, Muslims Against Crusade claim to have no links with Al Muhajiroun. The group’s plans of protesting outside Westminster Abbey on 29 April – ironically together with the English Defence League – were banned by the Metropolitan Police. Muslims Against Crusade announced that they would still go ahead with their demonstration, possibly in a different location, in order to protest the Royal Family’s support of the war in Afghanistan.
The Muslim Council of Britain has strongly condemned the radical group’s plans, called them “silly antics” who disregarded the teachings and the ethos of Islam.
The Olympics is meant to promote solidarity – but the 2012 Games has become a question of faith for some in East London as Christianity and Islam vie to become the most visible religion around the 500-acre park. Muslim leaders have begun a charm offensive with residents in the borough of Newham over controversial plans to build a 12,000-capacity “super-mosque” on the edge of the Olympic Park. Trustees of the Abbey Mills Mosque conducted tours of the 18-acre site in West Ham last week to show they had “nothing to hide”, say their Westminster lobbyists. The tours are a prelude to a summer exhibition of plans for the _75 million mosque designed by architects Allies and Morrison, whose buildings include the Royal Observatory and the Royal Festival Hall. The mosque is likely to be Europe’s largest and four-times the size of Britain’s largest cathedral. Their proposal, which includes a 500-place Islamic school, has met with resistance from Christians, whose plans for an _80 million “mega-church” in neighbouring Hackney were rejected by planning officials last month. The Kingsway International Christian Centre, which claims to be the fastest-growing church in western Europe, wanted to build a church capable of holding 8,000 people – or five times the size of Westminster Abbey – after it was evicted from its home on the Olympic site.