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24 February 2010

Exposed, the 'Blackburn Resistance': Gang 'filmed preparations for terror'

article-1253226-086EBBDA000005DC-722_468x580.jpg Brandishing machetes and guns, the young men pose for the video camera. The three British Muslims filmed themselves as they prepared for a terrorist attack, a court was told yesterday. (Weapons: The trio - including Abbas Iqbal (right) and brother Ilyas - are said to have called themselves 'The Blackburn Resistance')

They also recorded themselves crawling on their bellies through piles of leaves in a town centre park for a military-style training video, it was alleged.

The prosecution claimed that while the footage might appear 'almost comical in its amateurishness', in reality it showed a group 'intoxicated by the evil of terrorism'.

Abbas Iqbal

Accused: Among other charges, Abbas Iqbal denies dissemination of terrorist publications

Styling themselves the Blackburn Resistance, the trio filmed themselves imitating Al Qaeda-style propaganda in broad daylight in the Lancashire town's Corporation Park.

One is shown apparently carrying a rifle as he executes a 'leopard crawl' beneath a clump of trees.

Along with another man, he then dashes across a track before appearing to aim his weapon at an imaginary enemy.

Yesterday the video was shown as part of the men's trial.

Edward Brown QC, prosecuting, told the jury: 'Some aspects of the material may at first blush seem almost comical in its amateurishness, but when you recall their purpose it is less funny.'

At first sight it might look like 'a group of young men larking around in a park in Blackburn', he added. But, he claimed, the men were in the process of educating themselves about guerilla warfare with the intention of engaging in terrorist activity.

The images were found on a mobile phone memory card hidden in 24-year-old Abbas Iqbal's suitcase when he was arrested at Manchester Airport in August 2008, the court has heard.

Also found were video clips of the trio holding and firing weapons while shouting 'Allahu Akbar' (God is Great) in a backyard, along with photos of them in camouflage clothing and carrying weapons as well as images of terrorist leaders including Osama Bin Laden.

Mohammed Ali Ahmed, Abbas Iqbal and brother Ilyas

Allegations: (Left to right) Mohammed Ali Ahmed, Abbas Iqbal and brother Ilyas are claimed to have been 'intoxicated by the evil of terrorism' and were imitating Al Qaeda propaganda

Ilyas Iqbal holding a gun

Ilyas Iqbal: The jury was told the three men had set about teaching themselves about guerrilla warfare

Police later recovered a camcorder video tape from his home in Blackburn which showed Iqbal holding a young boy and raising a machete over his head in 'joking' fashion, saying he hoped one day to take a non-believer's 'head off'.

A weapons cabinet was also found, the court heard.

 Mohanmmed Ali Ahmed holding a knife
Ilyas Iqbal

Mohammed Ali Ahmed (left) and Ilyas Iqbal were said by the prosecution to have 'developed extreme Islamist beliefs'

A picture depicting the words: The Blackburn Resistance

Mr Brown told Manchester Crown Court that Iqbal filmed the park footage - featuring his brother Ilyas and a third man - intending to take it abroad to spread their violent ideology.

He concluded: 'The prosecution say that as the Blackburn Resistance, the three defendants were acting together with their armoury or training equipment and with the information they had gathered, readying themselves for active preparation in the jihad, probably abroad.'

Abbas Iqbal denies dissemination of terrorist publications, preparation for terrorism acts and possession of a document likely to be useful to a terrorist.

Ilyas Iqbal, 23, also of Blackburn, denies preparation for terrorism acts and two counts of possession of a document likely to be useful to a terrorist. White Muslim convert Muhammed Ahmed, 26, denies the preparation for acts of terrorism.

The case continues.

A man crawls through the undergrowth

Scenes: The movie also allegedly shows two of the group practising combat crawling in Corporation Park, Blackburn




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