By Jenni Hesterman
On February 26th, a British court convicted 50 year-old Mohammed Hamid of directing terrorist training camps in the country, and providing instruction to several of the men involved in the July 7 and 21, 2005 bombings in London. Although the terrorists that executed these attacks have already been prosecuted, officials diligently pursued those who inspired and trained them. Hamid, who refers to himself as “Osama Bin London”, was viewed as the most prolific recruiter of radical Islamic fundamentalists in the United Kingdom.
Evidence produced in his case included testimony that Hamid told his followers that the 52 deaths in the bombings in London on July 7, 2005 (also known as the 7/7 attacks), were “not even breakfast to me”. Immediately following those bombings, Hamid sent a text message to one of 21/7 bombers he groomed, Hussain Osman, stating: “Assalam bro, we fear no one except Allah. We will not change our ways, we are proud to be Muslim and we will not hide. 8pm Friday at my place be there food an talk AL-QURAN”. Hamid conducted regular Quran study sessions at his home, where he used verses from the religious text to support his radical ideology and prepared the men to undertake acts of violence. An MI5 listening device placed at Hamid’s home captured several of these sessions on tape, and was submitted to the jury as evidence for their consideration. Hamid is also on a videotape, widely circulated to the press, exhorting the virtues of suicide bombings and stating that he sees nothing wrong with killing of innocent civilians during these attacks.
While Hamid was conducting training at the Kent Islamic School, an undercover police officer taped a particularly inciting speech, which the jury used to convict him of soliciting to murder. An accomplice at the training facility, Atilla Ahmet, who told the men he was the “number one Al-Qaeda in Europe”, pled guilty to soliciting to murder before the trial began. Video tapes from the camp show trainees preparing for hand-to-hand combat.
Hamid’s conviction comes on the heels of a controversial report released by the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), a prestigious London defense think tank, on February 15th. The paper, entitled “Risk, Threat and Security: The Case of the United Kingdom” states that the United Kingdom lacks a “coherent and comprehensive mechanism for the analysis of risks and threats” and that multiculturalism has led to a loss of “self confidence”. Perhaps most pejorative, the report states that the United Kingdom is now considered a “soft touch”, not only impacting the strength and security of the country, but increasing its vulnerability as a terrorist target.
About the Author
Jenni Hesterman is a retired Air Force colonel and counterterrorism specialist. She is a senior analyst for The MASY Group, a Global Intelligence and Risk Management firm that supports both the U.S. Government and leading corporations. She is also an adjunct professor at American Military University, teaching courses in homeland security and intelligence studies.