Islam Under Scrutiny by Ex-Muslims

UK Muslim Soldiers - "Off With Their Heads"

On Wednesday, January 31, nine people were arrested in raids in Birmingham, central England. Searches continued at a total of 18 addresses, concluding on Monday. One of these addresses was an Islamic bookshop in Stratford Road, Sparkhill, the Maktabah (Arabic for "library").


 This bookshop, like the Iqra bookshop in Leeds which had been frequented by two of the 7/7 bombers, supplied Islamist books and DVDs. In July last year, the Times had exposed the Maktabah bookshop as a place where extremist literature was being distributed. The owner of Maktabah told the Times: "The books you have highlighted are easily available at 90 per cent of Islamic bookshops around the country."


A bookseller at Maktabah called Abu Bakir was one of the nine people who were arrested last Wednesday. The bookshop did more than merely sell books. It also published them. One of these is entitled "The Army of Madinah in Kashmir", published in 1999.

This book states that "terror works and that is why the believers are commanded to enforce it by Allah... Jihad has many great spheres and it would be a misconception to confine it simply to the mountain-tops of foreign countries, as we are so prone to do. Instead we are forced to ask the question, do we put the fear of Allah into the enemies of al Islam?"

The book promises divine rewards for Mujahideen who fight against non-believers, quoting Koranic texts to justify murder. On page 90, it describes a "victory" for the Muhajideen, where an Indian soldier was decapitated. Its author is 'Esa al-Hindi. This is the pseudonym of Dhiren Barot, a British member of Al Qaeda, who on November 7 last year was sentenced to at least 40 years' life imprisonment. During his stay in Kashmir from 1995 to 1996, Barot had is thought to have met Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, planner of 9/11.

But the bookseller from the store was not taken into custody for publishing and selling materials which eulogized armed jihad. He was arrested for his involvement in a plan which is equally insidious. He and the eight other people were arrested after a six month surveillance measure called Operation Gamble. This surveillance concerned a plot which had been brought to the attention of the authorities last summer.


The plan had been for a British Muslim soldier to be kidnapped, held as a hostage and ultimately beheaded. The ordeal of the soldier was to be videotaped, with movies posted onto the internet.


One particular soldier living in the West Midlands had been targeted for kidnap and decapitation, and during the investigation, he had been placed under protective supervision. This soldier, a corporal in military intelligence, had been chosen from a list of 25 Muslim servicemen, from addresses ranging from the West Country in southwest England to Glasgow in Scotland. A meeting with Ministry of Defense officials was held on February 1 to discuss security measures for the 330 Muslims who serve in Britain's armed forces.


Shortly after the raid, the policeman in charge of the operation to arrest suspects, Assistant Chief Constable David Shaw, was reported to be "seething". It was said that Shaw was angry that Whitehall had revealed details of the beheading plot on Wednesday, the morning of the raids. He said: "I haven't said any of those things - it has all come from London."


The details of the beheading blot were being publicly revealed while one suspect remained at large. This individual was finally arrested on the night of Monday February 5.


It has been suggested that the leaks of the raids were deliberately made by the Home Office, in an attempt to deflect attention from the problems facing the government, currently mired in scandals. The vice chairman of West Midlands Police Federation said: "The police force is asking the question, where did it all come from? There may be political reasons for it, such as what was going on at the Home Office and at Downing Street."


Despite the concerns about leaking of the operation to the media, there have been no denials that a plot to behead a British soldier was planned. Those involved in surveillance had wanted to continue their undercover monitoring of suspects. What had prompted the arrests on Wednesday had been knowledge that one of the suspects had purchased a video camera at the weekend.


The videotaped beheadings of hostages were hallmarks of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Iraq. Before that, in January 2002 the US journalist Daniel Pearl was kidnapped in Karachi, Pakistan. On February 1 his captors videotaped his decapitation, which was then circulated on the internet. Mr Pearl had died from having his throat cut. A British Al-Qaeda linked terrorist, Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, has been convicted of Mr Pearl's murder.


Beheading hostages while videotaping their last moments was also practiced by the Filipino Muslim terrorist group Abu Sayyaf. A video was found in 2001 of the beheadings of soldiers, and was broadcast on Filipino television in February 2002. Since Daniel Pearl's murder, decapitation videos have become staples of Islamist websites.


The move to have homegrown British Muslims engaged in such activity has revealed a new phase in Islamists' intentions, according to individuals such as terror analyst Professor Paul Rogers, of the University of Bradford. He spoke of the fear factor produced by such an operation, but cautioned that such a plot would be "very unusual".


However, since the plot was revealed, more evidence has come to light which suggests that beheading a Muslim British soldier has been in the consciousness of Muslims for some time. In a recently aired documentary by Channel 4, an imam at a mosque in Sparkbrook, Birmingham praised the killers of a British Muslim soldier.


On July 1, 2006, Lance Corporal Jabron Hashmi was one of two soldiers to be killed in a rocket-propelled grenade attack in Helmand province, Afghanistan. Hashmi, who lived in Birmingham, became the first British Muslim serviceman to die since the "war on terror" began.


Shortly after his death, Channel 4 secretly made video footage at the Hamza mosque in Sparkhill. A visiting imam said: "There was an individual who was killed in Afghanistan recently. A Muslim name, he came from a Pakistani family. Do you know what they had written in a tabloid newspaper? 'Hero of Islam'. 'Hero of Islam' who went into Muslim Afghanistan to kill Muslims. Why? Because their crime is implementing Islam. The 'Hero of Islam' is the one who separated his head from his shoulders."


The Hamza mosque in Sparkbrook is said to have been frequented by some of the individuals who were arrested in the "beheading plot". This mosque is a center of the Tablighi Jamaat group. Two of the 7/7 bombers had attended the mosque at Tablighi headquarters in Savile Town, in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire. Members of Tablighi have been involved in terror operations in India and North Africa, according to Alex Alexiev of the Center for Security Policy.


Immediately after the death of Lance Corporal Hashmi, the website of Al Ghurabaa carried a condemnation of the soldier. An article said: "Unlike members of al-Qaeda, he took a salary for his terror," and described the Muslim soldier as a "home-grown terrorist." Al Ghurabaa was a group which had been formed after Al-Muhajiroun was disbanded in October 2004. Its "spiritual leader" was Omar Bakri Mohammed, who lived in Britain from 1985 to 2005.


Last summer, Omar Bakri Mohammed said from his base in Lebanon that a British soldier in Afghanistan or Iraq should be kidnapped. Bakri described coalition troops as "non-believers". Since the arrests in Birmingham, Bakri has continued to use the internet to justify the killing of Muslim soldiers. He said: "British Muslims who join the army and kill other Muslims are terrorists. I hope they capture British Muslims who are really in the army there in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are apostates. We will strike your neck."


The instruction for British terror cells to carry out a wave of beheadings was, according to the Sunday Times, issued from Al Qaeda leaders in Pakistan and Iraq. The message was uncovered by MI5 (homeland security) in the fall of 2006.


Members of Al-Muhajiroun were active in Pakistan, and it must be noted that in the fall of 2005, Ayman al-Zawahiri, deputy leader of Al Qaeda, wrote a letter to Zarqawi, which suggested that videotaped beheadings were counterproductive.


The members of Bakri's group Al-Muhajiroun have supported armed conflict away from Britain, and only a week after 9/11, held a meeting in Sparkbrook in Birmingham. Here Muslims were encouraged to travel to Afghanistan to fight coalition forces. One Al-Muhajiroun speaker warned of reprisals for Muslims who supported coalition actions, saying: "If they continue to do so, it is our duty to persuade them not to. But if they do not listen, they are Kufr (unbelievers) too and so it is our duty to fight and even kill them."


One member of Al-Muhajiroun, Hassan Butt, claimed to have recruited hundreds of Britons to fight against coalition forces.


Al-Muhajiroun maintained that while Britain offered a refuge to Muslims, there was a "Covenant of Security". This meant that while Muslims were allowed to preach and act freely in a country, they were not permitted to carry out violent jihad. In February 2005, after Al-Muhajiroun was officially disbanded, Bakri and others suggested that the "covenant of security" had been broken. This meant that Muslims in Britain either had to leave the country or wage violent jihad.


However, a video has emerged, which has been circulated on the internet since summer last year. In this video, made in 2004, before Al-Muhajiroun was disbanded, a prominent member of the group was shown in Regents' Park Mosque, saying that British Muslim soldiers should be decapitated.


This man Abu Izzadeen was recorded saying: "Whoever allies himself with the Kaffirs (non-believers) against the believers - he is one of them. So those so-called enemies to Allah who join the British Government - 'cos remember the British Government, my dear Muslim brothers, are Crusaders... Crusaders come to kill and rape Muslims. Whoever joins them - he who joins the British Army, the American Army, he is a mortal kaffir and his only hukum (punishment) is for his head to be removed. Indeed, whoever changes his deen (Muslim code of life); kill him."

The video had been obtained by the independent terrorist monitoring group Vigil, and on Monday, it was broadcast on ITV news. On Tuesday night, Izzadeen appeared on ITV again, and justified his statements. He said: "You are asking me today, what is the ruling for anyone joining the British army as a Muslim, they're an apostate. You ask me what's the rules for apostasy. In Islam, apostasy carries capital punishment."

 Muslims in Birmingham have protested against the arrests of the nine men. The chairman of Birmingham Central Mosque claimed that Britain was becoming a police state. If Britain was really a "police state", individuals like Abu Izzadeen would have been locked up long ago. A barrister, David Millar, was shown the 2004 footage of Izzadeen and claimed that there were grounds to have him convicted of inciting murder.

 In my next article, I will show, using his own words, how Abu Izzadeen has preached sedition and treason since 2001. He has glorified terrorism, incited murder, and has helped to promote the sort of Islam which has allowed young men to plot to kidnap and behead a British Muslim soldier. Yet for all the outrage his public statements have created, Abu Izzadeen has consistently avoided prosecution.

Adrian Morgan is a British based writer and artist who has written for Western Resistance since its inception. He also writes for Spero News, Family Security Matters and He has previously contributed to various publications, including the Guardian and New Scientist and is a former Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Society.

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