The Blackburn Resistance is futile...

Men jailed after practising jihad manoeuvres in park

They styled themselves "The Blackburn Resistance chapter" and filmed each other dressed in camouflage, "leopard crawling" through woodland in their local park in preparation for their forthcoming holy war against the evil oppressor.

But although the Iqbal brothers gathered a stockpile of weapons, firing some off in the back yard of their Lancashire home, and built up a library of terrifying terrorist material, their al-Qa'ida-style ambitions to become fully-fledged jihadists amounted to little more than a vanity project, a judge said yesterday.

Abbas Iqbal 24, was sentenced to two years in prison for the dissemination of terrorist publications and preparing for acts of terrorism. His younger brother Ilyas, 23, was jailed for 18 months for possessing a document likely to be useful to a terrorist.

During the course of the four-week trial at Manchester Crown Court, the jury was shown mobile phone footage of the brothers taken as they rustled through the undergrowth of Blackburn's Corporation Park, crawling on their bellies in broad daylight with what appeared to be a rifle. Abbas Iqbal claimed the video was a bit of "fun" – an homage to his action hero, Arnold Schwarzenegger, based on the film Predator, which he said he had seen 600 times.

The video was discovered among material found on a mobile phone memory card in the suitcase of Abbas Iqbal when he was arrested as he attempted to board a flight from Manchester Airport to northern Europe in August 2008. At the time of his arrest he was in the company of an alleged extremist, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

Passing sentence, Judge Andrew Gilbert QC said: "You fancied yourself as a fighter for the cause, but the truth is you were a very low-grade one. It would be wrong to pass a long sentence on someone who is obviously more taken with the vanity than the reality."

Both men have already spent two-and-a-half years on remand and will be released soon. The park video is introduced by a voice stating: "They are fighting against oppression, they are The Blackburn Resistance." It features a background chant which recites: "I am the armour for those who believe in the unity of Allah. I am the fire against the aggressor."

Prosecutor Edward Brown QC conceded that the film appeared amateurish and comical but said the brothers were "intoxicated" by terrorism and the footage was a "promotional collage" intended to radicalise others abroad.

Police searched the Iqbal family home in Percival Street, Blackburn, where officers uncovered extremist material on a computer and an armoury stockpile in a cabinet. It contained several air rifles, knives, machetes, a sword, a crossbow, various ammunition, books on weaponry and hand- written notes on "Attack planning" and "Urban combat". Ilyas Iqbal said his notes on "Urban combat" were largely based on the Hollywood movie Black Hawk Down.

A third man, Muhammad Ahmad, 26, was cleared of preparing for an act of terrorism.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there