Saturday, October 15, 2011
A bookshop owner from Birmingham has gone on trial accused of priming Muslims for terrorism worldwide
Ahmed Faraz distributed Islamic extremist books and videos in a bid to encourage attacks by Muslims. Kingston Crown Court heard that the ringleader of the London suicide bombings owned material distributed by Faraz and his business. The Birmingham University graduate denies 30 charges of distributing or possessing terrorism-related material. Max Hill QC, prosecuting, told the jury that Faraz, 32, was not accused of being part of a specific plot. Hill said: "This case is about the distribution of books, DVDs and other material that we say represents steps along the road to radicalization of Muslims to engage in violent terrorist attacks against the military and civilian populations of countries around the world, including the UK. The case is also about the ways and means of solidifying that radicalization. This is about priming people for terrorism." The jury heard that at the heart of the case was a bookshop and online business in Birmingham called Maktabah al-Ansar. Police raided properties linked to the business and Faraz in 2007 and 2010 and seized large quantities of material that expert witnesses say is designed to encourage violence, terrorism and martyrdom. The material included videos of hostage-takings and beheadings, said Hill. The jury would watch heavily edited versions so that they could understand how the films had been designed to radicalize the Muslim viewer. Hill told the jury that police had found that some of the material distributed by Maktabah had been in the hands of men behind Britain's most serious plots, including Mohammed Sidique Khan, the leader of the 2005 London suicide bombers. Some of the men jailed for life for the foiled 2006 airline bomb plot also had Maktabah material. Hill told the jury that an expert witness would take them through hundreds of pages of Islamic texts and demonstrate how Faraz had adapted them to provide a clarion call to terrorist violence.