Terror recruiter 'converted men to extremism'

Click to follow
The Independent Online

A British Muslim man has been accused of being the "recruiter, groomer and corrupter" of young men at training camps and meetings attended by some of the suicide bombers who took part in the failed attack on London on 21 July 2005.

Mohammed Hamid was one of five men who went on trial for alleged terrorist offences arising from trips to locations including paintballing centres and meetings at his home in east London.

The alleged leader of the group, Atilla Ahmet, has pleaded guilty to soliciting murder by being a partner with Mr Hamid in "terrorist conversion", a jury was told at Woolwich Crown Court in south-east London.

Prosecutors allege that Mr Hamid was involved in the radicalisation of young Muslim men for two years from 2004 and counted some of the 21/7 bombers, who failed in their attempt to blow up three Tube trains and a bus, as his "pupils".

David Farrell, for the prosecution, said Mr Hamid, 50, was not the mastermind behind the attacks but had sought to imbue those he influenced with an extremist doctrine of violence against non-believers.

The lawyer said: "The prosecution do not suggest that Hamid's role in seeking to train and influence those who took part in 21/7 was the only training or influence they received.

"The prosecution's case is that Hamid, assisted by Ahmet, was a recruiter, groomer and corrupter of young Muslims. His purpose was to convert such men to his own fanatical and extreme beliefs and, having given them such a foundation, thereby enabling them to move on to join others in the pursuit of jihad by acts of terrorism."

Ahmet, from Bromley, south-east London, entered guilty pleas to three counts of soliciting murder last month but reporting restrictions were only lifted yesterday as the case against his co-defendants was opened.

Mr Hamid, of Clapton, east London; Mousa Brown, 41, of Walthamstow, east London; Kibley da Costa, 24, of West Norwood, south-east London; Mohammed al-Figari, 42, of Tottenham, north London; and Kader Ahmed, 20, of Plaistow, east London, all deny a number of terrorism charges.

The court heard that the men were allegedly involved in the organising of camps or outings where fanatacism was preached. Mr Hamid came to the attention of police in October 2004 when he was arrested at a stall in Oxford Street with Muktar Said Ibrahim, the man who would become the ringleader of the 21/7 plot.

But it was not until the failed bombings that Hamid was placed under investigation by police and MI5.

By April last year, an undercover police officer had infiltrated the group and later attended a weekend camping trip at an Islamic school in East Sussex.

The court was played a recording of Mr Hamid talking about the attacks on London on 7 July 2005 during the trip, describing the bombers as having achieved "shaheed" or martyrdom. After asking how many people were killed and being told it was 52, Hamid replied: "That's not even a breakfast for me." At another meeting it is alleged that Mr Hamid "spoke of six or seven atrocities" before the 2012 Olympics.

Mr Farrell said the trips were designed to "foster within the participants that they were training for jihad against the kuffir, or non-believers". The jury was shown evidence of phone contact between Mr Hamid and the four convicted 21/7 bombers – Ibrahim, Hussein Osman, Ramzi Mohammed and Yassin Omar.

The jury was told that on the evening of the 7/7 attack an invitation to meet was sent by text message from Mr Hamid's mobile to a mobile owned by Osman, who tried to explode a bomb at Shepherds Bush two weeks later.

The prosecutor said Mr Hamid's east London home was bugged by police from September 2005 onwards during meetings where "aggressive, unlawful violence" was preached.

The case continues.