The “Arab mujahadin” who went to Afghanistan to fight the Soviet occupation also claimed an altruistic desire to help their fellow Muslims. They also later went on to become al-Qaeda. “Jihad ‘interested terror accused,'” from the BBC, July 15:
Aabid Khan, 23, from Bradford, West Yorkshire, told Blackfriars Crown Court he went to Pakistan in 2006 to sell phones and help earthquake survivors.
Mr Khan told the court he decided to emigrate to Pakistan following his second marriage in 2005, which he did the following year.
He said he and several others hired a taxi to Balakot, which he said was a “staging post” for travelling to areas worst affected by the earthquake.
Mr Khan said: “My purpose for going to that area was to evaluate the situation… to speak to the locals, to see if they needed anything, what kind of help they required.
“I could then ask people in the UK, – friends, relatives and others – to try and help them, whether it’s money or whatever else they required.”
When Mr Khan’s barrister Abbas Lakha QC asked him what his interests were, he replied: “Islamic history, jurisprudence, warfare – contemporary, historical and classical warfare – books on jihad in the past, jihad today.”
We’ve a future Ayman Zawahiri in the making.
He said his main interests were computers and religious studies.
The prosecution says the contents of his luggage – which Mr Khan says he did not pack himself – “showed he was dedicated to the pursuit of a violent holy war against anyone, any person or any country which did not believe in his religious faith”.
Simon Denison, prosecuting, said the information found on him “amounted to a terrorist encyclopaedia or library that would have enabled him or others to carry out terrorist attacks here or abroad in a variety of ways”.
Also in the dock are Sultan Muhammad, 23, from Bradford, Ahmed Sulieman, 30, from Woolwich, south-east London, and Hammaad Munshi, 18, from Dewsbury, West Yorkshire.
They deny 13 counts of possessing articles for a purpose connected with terrorism and making a record of information likely to be useful in terrorism between November 2005 and June 2006.
The trial was adjourned until Wednesday.