Charity collectors duped public to pay for terror plot, court told

0
Have your say

Members of the public were duped into donating thousands of pounds to fund a massive suicide terror attack planned for Britain, a court was told yesterday.

Irfan Naseer, 31, Irfan Khalid and Ashik Ali, both 27, were among a group of men who posed as collectors from the Muslim Aid charity to carry out street collections and door-to-door pleas for cash in Birmingham and Leicester last year, their trial at Woolwich Crown Court heard.

But the charity received just a fraction of the cash, with the vast majority being kept to finance the plot, the jury was told.

Notes found by police suggested that they collected £12,100 but the court was told they also lost £9,149 from their gains by using it to trade in foreign currency over four weeks.

The court previously heard that the men, two of whom are alleged to have received terror training in Pakistan, planned to detonate a series of suicide bombs in an attack that could have been bigger than the July 7 atrocities in 2005.

They discussed putting sharp blades on the front of a lorry and running into people.

Brian Altman QC, prosecuting, said the men wore Muslim Aid T-shirts and tabards to “beguile the public into believing this was legitimate charity collecting, when it wasn’t”.

“That money was stolen and ... was not intended by the defendants to be used for any other legitimate purpose other than terrorism,” he said.

Mr Altman said the collections took place soon after Naseer and Khalid returned from terror training in the Taliban and al Qaida stronghold of Waziristan in Pakistan at the end of July last year.

The charity had a licence for a single day’s collecting, and it received £1,584 from the group at the end of August, the court heard, a fairly typical amount for a day’s collection.

In reality, the prosecution claimed, they illegally collected cash over a sustained period, posing as Muslim Aid volunteers without its knowledge.

All the men are accused of engaging in conduct in preparation of terrorist acts, which they deny. Naseer is accused of five counts of the offence, Khalid four and Ali three, all between Christmas Day 2010 and September 19 last year.

For Naseer, from Sparkhill, Khalid, from Sparkbrook, and Ali, from Balsall Heath, all in Birmingham, this is alleged to have included planning a bombing campaign, collecting money for terrorism and recruiting others for terrorism. Naseer and Khalid are also accused of travelling to Pakistan for training in terrorism, and it is alleged that Naseer also helped others to travel to the country for the same purpose.

The men talked about when they planned to carry out their suicide attack while discussing their car’s MOT, the court heard.

They were recorded talking about the VW Passat needing its new certificate in June or July this year, when Khalid said “we’re dead by then”, adding “we’re probably out of here by next June, brother”.

The men discussed what would happen to their bodies after they had been martyred in a suicide attack. In what the prosecution called a “very telling exchange”, they discussed where they would be buried in Birmingham.

Khalid said: “”Nah, I’m just thinking... most likely it’ll be Handsworth (cemetery), if there’s a body left.”

Khalid and Naseer also talked about people “getting killed” in their local area and how no one would come there any more because it would be a “little war zone”, the court heard.

The three men are accused of being “central figures” in the alleged extremist plot, over which 11 men of Pakistani and Bangladesh origin and a woman were arrested.

The trial continues.