A Muslm fanatic who mockingly called himself “Osama bin London” radicalised and trained the July 21 bombers, a court heard yesterday.
Mohammed Hamid is said to have taken his brainwashed followers on paintballing trips and training camps in the English countryside to prepare them for fighting.
Under his instruction, the young men allegedly performed military-style training, brandishing sticks as if they were guns and practising tactics to counter an armed ambush.
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One of the paintballing trips, attended by July 21 bombers Ramzi Mohammed and Hussain Osman, took place just four days before the July 7 attacks and two weeks before the two men carried out their own attempt.
On the night of July 7, 2005, after the terrorist attacks earlier that day, Hamid allegedly texted Osman: “We fear no one except Allah, we will not change our ways, we are proud to be a Muslim and we will not hide.”
One of Hamid’s expeditions was even filmed by a BBC television crew making a documentary called “Don’t Panic, I’m Islamic”.
‘PREPARING FOR JIHAD’
Hamid, who ran a stall on London’s Oxford Street, is accused of recruiting disaffected young men by handing out extremist literature and issuing invitations to prayers at his house.The 50-year-old encouraged his pupils to become terrorists and train for “jihad” against non-believers, the jury was told. At meetings, Hamid allegedly spoke of there being six or seven atrocities before the 2012 Olympics in London and praised the “magnificent” 9/11 hijackers.
After the 7/7 London bombings in 2005 which killed 52 people, a tape recording of Hamid allegedly has him scoffing at the death toll, saying “52, that’s not even breakfast for me”.
The prosecution claims that there was also discussion of extremist preacher Abu Hamza and Finsbury Park Mosque.
Woolwich Crown Court was told that Hamid’s accomplice, 43-year-old Atilla Ahmet, has already pleaded guilty to soliciting to murder and will be sentenced later.
Hamid, who is married with children, was put under covert surveillance in September 2005. In April 2006, an undercover police officer visited his stall, posing as a disaffected young man, and was recruited by Hamid.
His evidence of what happened at the Friday prayers and training camps will be presented to the jury. Hamid, Ahmet and four others were arrested in September 2006.
‘TAPES OF BEHEADINGS’
After the arrests, police raided their homes and found extremist videos and tapes featuring beheadings and suicide bombings.David Farrell QC, prosecuting, said: “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 foundation, thereby enabling them to move on to join others in other pursuits of jihad by acts of terrorism.
“The fact that some did exactly as he desired is highly relevant to his real purposes and his continued purpose in training others after July 21.”
The prosecution do not claim that Hamid knew about the July 21 bombers’ plans.
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Instead he is accused of soliciting to murder, providing weapons training, providing training for terrorism and possessing a record of information of a kind likely to be useful to a terrorist.
He is standing trial with four other men: Mousa Brown, 41, of Walthamstow, North London, Kibley da Costa, 24, of West Norwood, South London, Kader Ahmed, 20, of Plaistow, East London, and Mohammed Al Figari, 43, of Tottenham, North London.
All the men deny all the charges brought against them in the first use of the Terrorism Act 2006.
Hamid came to the attention of police in October 2004 when he and July 21 bomber Muktar Ibrahim were arrested at his “dawa” stall on Oxford Street.
They had been behaving aggressively toward members of the public and when police arrived, Hamid racially abused one of the officers.
The court heard that he told police that his name was “Osama bin London” and on the way to the police station he said to an officer: “I’ve got a bomb and I’m going to blow you up.” He was later convicted of public order offences.
The court heard that in September 2005, after Ibrahim’s arrest for 21/7, Hamid was questioned by police then put under covert surveillance.There was also “extensive” telephone contact between Hamid and the July 21 bombers between Autumn 2004 and July 2005.
He called or texted Osman, Mohammed, Ibrahim and fourth bomber Yassin Omar 173 times in total.
On the evening of July 7, after the terrorist attacks earlier that day, Hamid allegedly texted Osman and Mohammed.
In the early hours of July 22, 2005, the day after the failed attacks, allegedly trained at the East Sussex Jameah Centre, an Islamic school near Crowborough.
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Hamid took a group, including the July 21 bombers Osman, Mohammed, Ibrahim and Omar, to a training camp at Baysbrown Farm, near Elterwater in Cumbria, on at least three occasions in 2004.
The court heard that Osman took his son to make the trip look like a family outing.
The men were watched by surveillance officers who saw them carrying sticks as if practising holding a rifle, doing sit-ups and press-ups and moving in military-type formation.
They pretended to fire imaginary weapons and remove pins from grenades before throwing them. They were also seen leopard crawling through streams and up hills. At night they practised “ghost walking” – how to walk with minimum noise.
Farmer Bruce Rowland, who owned the site, called the group “My Taliban” and was not initially concerned by them.
But when Osama Bin Laden became headline news, he told them to stop using the field.
On a trip to a paintballing centre near St Albans, Hertfordshire, in March 2006, the men asked to play separately from other people. The manager said she thought it looked like an Al Qaeda training camp.
On another trip that month, they travelled to Bournemouth and ran up and down steps leading to the beach.
On July 3, days before 7/7, Osman and Mohammed went on a paintballing trip with Hamid to the Springwood Centre in Tonbridge, Kent.Hamid held Friday prayers at his house in Clapton in East London where, the prosecution claims, he, along with Ahmet, encouraged his pupils to murder non-believers. The talk, it is claimed, was anti-Semitic and anti-American.
Hamid was said to have prepared the men for life as a mujahideen, a soldier, and they discussed future camping trips.
The court heard that at the meetings, mobile phones were turned off, collected and put in a box.
The group would eat and pray and discuss how to target other Muslim youths.
At meetings after the July 21 bombings, discussions centred on the arrest of the bombers.
The prosecution say there is no doubt that Hamid and the others knew only too well that the bombers had attended his training sessions.
In one meeting, Ahmet spoke of his dislike of the Muslim Council of Britain and the Muslim Association of Britain and said they needed “to be taken out”.
Hamid was recorded in East Sussex allegedly saying: “Remember this people that never get caught right, don’t let your ego go forward.
“Let your intelligence go forward for the sake of Allah, use your hikmah [wisdom] and be effective, effective, see how long you can last out, then if you have to go, then you’re going for a good reason.”
‘BRING ON THE JIHAD’
Brown is said to have been recorded as saying: “Bring the Jihad on, brother” and expressing the desire to be a sniper after the group discussed a report on a sniper who had shot 100 U.S. soldiers in Baghdad, said Mr Farrell.Brown also praised the 7/7 bombers, calling them “the fantastic four” and denouncing moderate Muslim women.
Ahmet could be heard boasting about a CNN news report in which he was labelled “the number one Al Qaeda in Europe”.
The trial continues.