Graduate denies 30 counts in ‘priming for terrorism’ trial

A UNIVERSITY graduate distributed extremist books and DVDs with the aim of “priming people for terrorism”, a trial jury has heard.

Ahmed Faraz is accused of possessing and disseminating material that ended up in the hands of terrorists including Mohammed Sidique Khan, the leader of the July 7 bomb plot.

Faraz, 32, is charged with 30 counts linked to the Maktabah publisher and bookshop which he ran in Birmingham.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

He was not, however, connected to any specific terrorist plot, a jury at Kingston Crown Court, south west London, was told yesterday.

Max Hill QC, prosecuting, said: “This case is about the distribution of books and DVDs and other material which we say represent steps along the road to radicalisation of Muslims to engage in violent terrorist attacks around the world, including the UK.

“This case is also about the ways and means by which to solidify that radicalisation and provide practical assistance for those who have been radicalised.

“To encapsulate it in a single phrase, this case is about priming people for terrorism.”

Those convicted of plotting to blow up planes over the Atlantic have also been found to be in possession of material published by Maktabah, the court heard.

Mr Hill said: “Several of the publications distributed by this defendant did end up in the hands of individuals, many of them now notorious – or infamous – terrorists who have stood trial in English courtrooms such as this in the last five years and are now serving long prison sentences, having been found guilty of plotting to terrorise the British public.

“These individuals include those plotting to blow up transatlantic planes.

“In addition, items on this indictment were found in the hands of terrorists including one who is not serving time in prison – Mohammed Sidique Khan, the leader of the 7/7 plot (in 2005) in which 52 London commuters died and in which Khan himself also perished.

“The evidence is not to suggest this defendant was part of those plots, nor that he personally provided the relevant materials to those plotters.”

A radicalised Maktabah version of Islamic text Milestones was quoted in a video suicide message by Arafat Khan, who was convicted of planning the transatlantic terrorist plot, Mr Hill added.

The books and films were found when premises, including Faraz’s home and business in the Sparkhill area of Birmingham, were searched in 2007 and again in 2010, the court was told. Graphic images of terrorist attacks and 81 beheadings were included in the materials discovered, as well as an al Qaida training manual and a book called Defence Of The Muslim Lands.

Faraz, who gained a BA degree and a PGCE teaching qualification from Birmingham University, intended extremist materials should be available for the “widest possible distribution”, terrorism expert Professor Bruce Hoffman claimed in a report submitted to the court.

Prof Hoffman said in the document, shown to the jury: “The large volume of material seized by police in this case is extraordinary. This expert has never encountered so much and of so much diversity in 33 years of studying terrorism.” He added that the material constituted “a detailed and voluminous learning course in jihad” which amounted to “a clarion call to terrorist violence”.

Faraz is charged with 10 counts of disseminating terrorist publications between April 13 2006 and January 26 2010.

He is also charged with nine counts of having terrorist publications in his possession, with a view to distributing them, on January 31 2007.

The final 11 counts relate to the possession of information that is likely to be useful to someone committing or preparing an act of terrorism, again on January 31 2007.

Faraz, of Esme Road, Sparkhill, Birmingham, denies all charges. The case continues.