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Terror suspect ‘called for jihad’ on visit to Glasgow
From the Herald Scotland, the Times and the BBC
One of the world’s most wanted terrorism suspects visited Scotland to urge Muslim youths to become jihadis years before 9/11, an investigation claims. The Radio Four documentary, The Dawn of British Jihad, discovered that Hafiz Saeed toured British mosques in 1995.
The roots of violent religious struggle by British Muslims were laid down in the mid-1990s, much sooner than previously known, according to the newly discovered and translated accounts.
Hafiz Saeed, the founder of a terrorist organisation in Pakistan, is being hunted for allegedly organising the Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people in 2008. The 60-hour assault targeted luxury hotels, Mumbai's main railway station and a Jewish cultural centre. He has always denied involvement.
But The Times claims that Saeed thrilled audiences in packed British mosques, including in Glasgow, by calling for a return to the days when Muslims waged jihad and infidels paid them protection money.
The British tour, which took place before 9/11, was reported in a magazine published by the jihadi group Lashkare-Taiba (LeT).
According to the reports, in Glasgow on August 23, 1995, Saeed said that when Muslims used to have the spirit of jihad they ruled the whole world whereas today they were being humiliated.
He said Zionists were using billions of dollars to kill this spirit of jihad among Muslims. "They are trying to entice Muslims to the politics of power through democracy," he said. "They are also using the interest-based economy to keep Muslims in debt."
The BBC documentary, to be broadcast on Tuesday night, sets out to examine the idea that radicalisation of British Muslims started well before the 9/11 bombings.
Sajid Iqbal, one of the programme's producers, told BBC Scotland he spoke to people who were active in the 1980s and 1990s, "much earlier than commonly thought". "These were different times. At that time, the theatres of Jihad were Bosnia and Afghanistan, where there was some sort of common cause," he said.
The articles, written in Urdu and uncovered by the BBC investigation, were written by the Iman of a mosque in Oldham who accompanied Saeed. Mr Iqbal said: "There is non-stop talk about Jihad, encouraging British Muslims to join him."
In Birmingham he urged his audience “Let’s all rise up for jihad” and denounced “Hindu dogs”. That address “in real terms laid the foundation of Jihad in the UK”
In Leicester on August 26, Saeed spoke at a conference attended by 4,000 youths. His address was reported to have “infused a new spirit in the youth. Hundreds of young men expressed intention to get jihad training”.
Summing up the tour, the author wrote: “A large number of young people want to get jihad training. A group of 50 students of colleges and universities has so far finalised its programme in this connection. The valleys of Britain are resounding with chants of jihad.”
Britain banned LeT in early 2001. Saeed was under house arrest in Pakistan for several months last year but has since been freed. According to Raffaello Pantucci’s book, We Love Death As You Love Life, LeT has retained a network in Britain. This includes Omar Khyam from Crawley, leader of a gang jailed in 2004 for plotting to blow up the Bluewater shopping centre in Kent and the Ministry of Sound nightclub in London, and Aabid Khan, from Bradford, who was jailed for 12 years in 2008 for heading a cybergrooming radicalisation gang who claimed to have links to LeT.