Muslim extremists who planned a bloody attack on an English Defence League rally could have sparked a “tit-for-tat spiral of violence and terror”, a court has heard.
The plot to strike at the EDL event in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, in June last year only failed by chance, and the six conspirators would have gone on to attack another rally by the far- right group had they not been stopped, the Old Bailey was told.
Jewel Uddin, 27, Omar Khan, 31, Mohammed Hasseen, 24, Anzal Hussain, 25, Mohammed Saud, 23, and Zohaib Ahmed, 22, admitted planning the attack at a hearing on 30 April.
Dozens of EDL supporters gathered outside the court yesterday amid a heightened police presence as the two-day sentencing began. With English flags on display, they could be heard chanting “Anjem Choudary, off our streets”, referring to the radical preacher, and “EDL”.
Leader Tommy Robinson and his deputy Kevin Carroll briefly went into the public gallery of Court 12 to watch the beginning of the hearing. Mr Robinson glared into the dock and appeared to smirk as he walked out of the public gallery.
Two men aged 24 and 26 were arrested outside the court during the course of the day, both on suspicion of being drunk and disorderly.
Prosecutor Bobbie Cheema QC told the court: “In the months leading up to June 30, 2012 these six men, all ideologically committed to radical Islam, planned to execute a terrible vengeance on the English Defence League for what they perceived to be the EDL’s recent blasphemous words and actions against the Prophet Mohammed and Islam.
“Their plain and now admitted intention was to carry out a terrorist attack using a varied selection of offensive weapons: an improvised explosive device, two sawn-off shotguns, swords and knives.
“As well as members of the EDL and police officers on duty, ordinary shoppers and workers would have been in the town centre at the time of the planned attack.”
All of the men except Hasseen travelled to Dewsbury on the day of the rally, but arrived at about 4pm, while the event had finished earlier than expected at 2pm.
They were armed with two shotguns, swords, knives, a nail bomb containing 458 pieces of shrapnel, and a partially assembled pipe bomb.
Ms Cheema said: “The defendants have admitted . . . that they intended to bring about a violent confrontation with the EDL during which they intended to use weapons to cause serious injuries and they anticipated, each one of them, that some victims may have died.”
The court heard that the plotters took ten copies of a hate-filled document addressed to the enemies of Allah and his messenger and referred to the Queen as the “kafir (non-believer) female devil”.
It also called the EDL the English Drunkards League.
The court also heard that in 2012 the EDL held 130 events, at which 677 arrests occurred, 500 of which involved confirmed EDL members.
The hearing continues.
Muslims call for action against hate crimes
Muslim groups have called on authorities to take serious action against anti-Islamic attacks and say they fear a wave of reprisals in the wake of the Woolwich murder of Lee Rigby.
Counter-terrorism police are investigating after a Somali cultural centre was burned to the ground in Muswell Hill, London, on Wednesday. The building was daubed with the letters “EDL”, apparently referencing the English Defence League.
The blaze came as the RAF Bomber Command War Memorial in Green Park, London, was defaced again after being attacked by vandals last week, this time with the words “Lee Rigby’s killers should hang”.
Farooq Murad, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, said: “It is time for serious action against such crimes. We had fine and decisive words from our leaders condemning the actions of the English Defence League, now we need a proper response from our police authorities.”
Man charged over terror publications
A man appeared in court yesterday charged with terror offences as part of an investigation into a friend of one of the suspected Woolwich killers.
Shah Jalal Hussain, 30, of Cannon Street Road, Whitechapel, east London, was remanded in custody at Westminster Magistrates’ Court. Hussain faces two charges connected to the alleged dissemination of terrorist publications. His arrest is linked to an investigation into Abu Nusaybah, who was arrested and charged with terror offences after he gave an interview on BBC Newsnight.
Nusaybah, who appeared in court over three terror charges, claimed that Michael Adebolajo, his friend who is accused of murdering Drummer Lee Rigby, had been offered a job by MI5.