The sentencing hearing at Crown Court Woolwich continues. Although the hearing is at a London court the regional newspapers are showing much more interest than the nationals or the London papers.
An al Qaida-inspired extremist called on British Muslims to claim benefits to raise funds for a terrorist training camp, a court heard today. Usman Khan, 20, was secretly recorded talking about plans to recruit UK radicals to attend the camp in Kashmir, London’s Woolwich Crown Court was told. He said there were only three possible outcomes for him and his fellow jihadists: victory, martyrdom or prison.
Khan’s home in Persia Walk, Stoke-on-Trent, was bugged as he discussed plans for the firearms training camp, which was to be disguised as a legitimate “madrassa”, an Islamic religious school, the court heard.
The two men discussed politics, ideology and their love of Osama bin Laden, who they described as "beautiful".
He invited the other man to come to the camp, arguing that training for armed jihad is preferable to engaging in dawah, or preaching, in the UK. Khan says: "Brothers should encourage other brothers to come. We've got something serious set up. If you want to see the set-up, go there, check it out. Invite brothers to come and check it out."
Discussing terrorist fundraising, he said that Muslims in Britain could earn in a day what people in Kashmir, a disputed region divided between Pakistan and India, are paid in a month. He went on: “On jobseeker’s allowance we can earn that, never mind working for that.”
During the late-night meeting on December 4, 2010, Khan contrasted the action he was planning in support of jihad with the passive approach of Muslims like radical cleric Anjem Choudary. “Brothers like Anjem, they ain’t going nowhere,” he said.
Abdul Miah was bugged as he spoke to Chowdhury on December 4 2010, using football as a code for their terrorist plans and referring to the Stoke members of the fundamentalist group as ``guests''. He said: "We will be able to play football, proper match, tournament, without guests... We don’t need any outsiders in the tournament."
Mr Edis told the court: "There was a distinction between the nine members of the group. The four who were party to the discussion about an attack in the UK appeared to have been working on the basis they didn’t need outsiders in that project."
Miah also spoke of using VAT fraud to get "proper money" for their plans and compared the group’s projects to the September 11 2001 attacks in the US. "That (9/11) was a very big thing. Ours is nothing compared to theirs... They took many years starting to get ready, so this is a small thing," he said.
The court also heard excepts from a later conversation at Persia Walk, where Khan was discussing planting bombs in Stoke-on-Trent pubs with his fellow terrorists. Shahjahan, a 27-year-old, of Burmarsh Walk, Burslem, talked about doing "a little vigilante thing" involving two pubs, before the other cell members left for the training camp in Pakistan in January. They questioned whether they would have to buy drinks as a pretext for their presence in a pub and discussed getting a white man to plant the bomb for them. This plot was never taken any further, as all four members of the Stoke-on-Trent cell were arrested on December 20, along with five others in Cardiff and London.
The reaction of drinkers and landlords in Stoke is here. If you recall your Arnold Bennet Stoke and Burslem are two of the 'Five Towns'.
Mr Edis said those who underwent training at the camp in Kashmir could have returned home and carried out attacks in Britain. "When running a training camp of this kind, the prosecution say, they create a risk that they themselves or other graduates of it will commit acts of terrorism wherever they find themselves to be, using the skills they have acquired," he told the court.