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The lure of jihad: Two British members of Islamic State in one of the organisation's YouTube recruitment videos

Brothers Mohammed Saeed Ahmed and Mohammed Naeem Ahmed sat slumped, heads in laps, in a musty courtroom at the Old Bailey where they were being tried in November 2013 on charges of conspiring to attend a terrorist training facility, which they denied.

They had earlier pleaded guilty to counts of possessing "information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism" contrary to section 58 of the Terrorism Act. The trial of the two Yorkshire-born young men of Bangladeshi descent lasted for several weeks and ended in a hung jury. I observed the trial from the judge's dais as his marshal.

In September this year, because of a combination of the prosecution counsel's decision to quit the Bar at one day's notice and community "decontamination" treatment of Saeed, the judge elected not to retry the brothers. He imposed suspended sentences for their guilty pleas to the other charges, meaning they avoided prison.

The trial was a strange manifestation of multiculturalism and consumerism in contemporary Britain — or indeed, anywhere. The prosecuting counsel played the court a video that the police had found on Saeed's computer. He described it as a "jihad rap", but it was plainly just a hysterically expectorated sermon dubbed over footage of jihadi warfare.

A journalist asked the judge to lift the court-ordered media ban on printing the brothers' home address. He reasoned that not pinpointing the culprits was dangerous, given the prevalence of individuals named "Mohammed Ahmed" in the Bradford area. The judge declined to lift the ban, heeding counsel's warnings about the activity of the anti-immigrant vigilante English Defence League in the area.

The case against the Ahmeds was a strong one, at first sight. Prosecutors introduced into evidence a voluminous amount of material found on the brothers' computers, Kindles and memory sticks, ranging from multiple issues of Inspire, Al-Qaeda's English language magazine aimed at recruiting Muslims in Western countries to "either leave for the lands of jihad or stay and fight", to classics like The Anarchist Cookbook and 21 Techniques of Silent Killing. The prosecution also showcased the fruits of a year-long police investigation focused on the brothers' older cousin Mohammed Shafaraz Ahmed, who pleaded guilty last April to charges of planning a terror attack with three others. There was footage of the three young men climbing the rugged hills of the Brecon Beacons and Snowdonia. The prosecution claimed that these trips were not for leisure but to prepare for jihad. There were shaky audio recordings of car rides to and from the climbing trips in which the boys discussed the logistics of saving money, obtaining visas, sidestepping parents, and travelling abroad to join "the brothers". 

Perhaps the most incriminating aspect of the prosecution's case was what the police found when they executed a search warrant in the Ahmed home two days before the whole family was set to travel to Bangladesh. In the boys' bedrooms were rucksacks packed with heavy-duty military clothing, thermal kit, knives, extreme-weather sleeping bags, boots, water purifiers, and night-vision goggles — hardly what would think appropriate for a family visit to humid Bangladesh in March, but well suited for the mountainous regions of Afghanistan, Yemen and Pakistan, Google inquiries to the embassies of which were recovered on Saeed's computer.

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December 10th, 2014
9:12 PM
Billionaire capitalist muslims turning Mecca into a giant sharia shopping mall and expensive muslim holiday and hotels property speculation zone is Islam`s modernism too. They pray facing towards a shopping mall now.

December 5th, 2014
6:12 PM
Ensnaring "young british muslims" or simply attracting the personality devoid scum of the earth from all nations ? "drab" Bradford etc also produced David Hockney and hundreds of great musicians.Industrial Jihad-porn manufacturing is the Calphate`s attraction,the jihad-porn lifestyle career choice for the thick . Banning art and music in Islamic education ensures an anti-bohemian anti-civilisation of death and destruction. De Sade and Freud have already revealed the how and the why and Zizek confirms the `modernism` of the islamo-fundamentalists inferiority complex. Do `selfies` on the social media get any uglier than the robotic taqiyya and bearded fuckfaces of the islamo-jihadists? This is Islam`s 21st century `modernism`. Isis is the suicidal islamic version of I`m A Celebrity combined with a Bearded Jim`ll Fix It Brigade Show.

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