“They were telling him he would be in paradise with 44 virgins, and he believed it.” Why wouldn’t he have believed it? The Qur’an doesn’t specify a number, but does several times promise that the blessed in Paradise will enjoy the houris — “companions pure, most beautiful of eye” (44:54; see also 52:20, 55:72). And it promises Paradise to those who “kill and are killed” for Allah (9:111). So all Mohammad Abdulaziz Rashid Saeed-Alim had to do to get “radicalized” in this way was read the Qur’an.
The mother of Exeter bomber Nicky Reilly says her son regrets his attempt to blow up an Exeter restaurant packed with diners with a home-made device in 2008.
Kim Reilly was speaking to BBC Radio 4 in an episode of The Report looking at why British converts to Islam are more likely to be attracted to radical branches of the faith.
The mother of the would-be Princesshay suicide bomber says she believes her son was turned into “a loaded gun” by extremists.
The 22-year-old, who changed his name to Mohammad Abdulaziz Rashid Saeed-Alim in 2004 in tribute to the 9/11 New York attackers, was given a life sentence for his failed attack on the Giraffe restaurant in Exeter on May 22 2008.
Investigating officers said it was believed Reilly, who has a history of mental illness, had adopted the Islamic faith and was “preyed upon, radicalised and taken advantage of”.
He pleaded guilty to the attack in which he accidentally set off a home-made nail bomb in a toilet cubicle as he prepared to target dozens of innocent people.
The explosion sent dozens of restaurant customers fleeing in panic, and caused the mass evacuation of Princesshay, while the bomber staggered out of the restaurant suffering serious facial injuries.
Asked by BBC presenter Zubeida Malik what Nicky thinks about his actions today she said: “He has told me that he regrets it.”
The program details how he felt accepted by the local Muslim community.
But Mrs Reilly says that in 2008 Nicky was radicalised in a matter of weeks by two men in Pakistan via the internet.
She said: “They were telling him how to make the bomb step my step.”
She says they told him who to target, and how to target them.
In the three days before they attack she says they went ‘on and on’ at Nicky with details ensuring he would get it right – but he still did not.
Mrs Reilly said: “They were telling him he would be in paradise with 44 virgins, and he believed it.”
Mrs Reilly said: “I had a phone call from Exeter Hospital saying that my son had been in an explosion.”
She said she only found out details and updates of what had happened through the media, and was unable to talk to Nicky for weeks after the explosion as police told her Nicky was undergoing operations.
She said: “My mind was in turmoil, it was like a bomb went off in our lives.”
Mrs Reilly describes the following months as ‘absolutely horrific’ as her life was turned upside down.
She says when she first got to see Nicky she was unable to speak. She said: “When I first saw him I just broke down, I couldn’t even speak at first.”
She added: “I’ve got a child who had never committed a crime…he had gone from no trouble at all to the top of the scale – from one extreme to the other.”
She says her head was ‘pickled’ and added: “It is just so hard to get your head round it, it still is now.”
On January 30, 2009, Reilly was jailed for life with a minimum term of 18 years having admitted attempting to launch a suicide bomb attack.
Information released after his guilty plea revealed that Reilly was obsessed with martyrdom and wanted to cause as much death and injury as possible.
This week, asked by Zubeida Malik “does he regret what happened?” Kim Reilly replies: “Yes he does. He’s told me he regrets it.
Nicky occasionally writes letters and cards to his mother, and even recently embarked upon a creative writing course which saw his poem published in a small book which Kim keeps at home.
Bomber Nicky Reilly wrote a suicide note before the attack, you can read the note in full below
In the name of God most gracious, most merciful: why I did it.
Everywhere Muslims are suffering at the hands of Britain, Israel and America. We are sick of taking all the brutality from you.
You have imprisoned over 1,000 Muslims in Britain alone in your war on Islam.
You torture and destroy Muslim lives by taking a father or a son or a brother, even you torture Muslim women.
In Britain it’s OK for a girl to have sex without marriage and if she gets pregnant she can get an abortion so easily.
When you are getting drunk on Friday and Saturday night your behaviour is worse than animals.
You have sex in nightclub toilets. You urinate in shop doorways. You shout your foul and disgusting mouth off in the street.
It is unacceptable to Allah and the true religion Islam. Britain and USA and Israel have no real rules.
All us Muslims have seen the pictures of Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, and you all know what you do to our brothers in Guantanamo Bay.
Sheikh Usama has told you the solution on how to end this war between us and many others have as well but you ignore us.
Our words are dead until we give them life with our blood. Leave our lands and stop your support for Israel.
I have not been brainwashed or indoctrinated. I am not insane.
I am not doing it to escape a life of problems or hardships. I am doing what God wants from his mujahideen. We love death as you love life.
Muslims welcome death because we will get jennah, inshallah, for defending the weak and oppressed Muslims.
You kill one of my people, I kill one of yours.
I have simply seen for myself the brutality and corruption of America, Britain and Israel for myself and my common sense told me it is unacceptable and wrong.
The word is the word of the sword until the wrongs have been righted.