Mohammed Abu Hasnath, 19, of Blair Street E14, has been jailed at the Old Bailey for 14 months after he admitted being in possession of Al Qaeda’s on-line terrorist magazine “Inspire.”
The young perfume salesman was arrested by detectives from the Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command on October 13 last year as he was cycling along the East India Dock Road.
Hasnath pleaded guilty to four charges of having copies of the magazine on his computer memory USB stick. The Central Criminal Court heard that he had also painted burqas on scantily clad women featured on advertising posters in the local area.
As he has been in custody for 206 days, he is likely to be released in the next week. His defence barrister, Hossein Zahir, informed Judge Gerald Gordon that his client had been moved to Woodhill prison where he had requested to take part in a de-radicalisation programme: “He was a naive young man expressing an under-developed interest in these issues. He is remorseful.”
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stuart Osborne, who is Senior National Co-Ordinator Counter Terrorism, told East London Lines: “Mohammed Hasnath was caught in possession of a USB device which contained literature designed to influence the reader to support, fund, or join terrorism, and which also provided practical guidance on how to do it.”
“This is a serious terrorist offence and we hope this will send a clear message that anyone caught in possession of such material can expect to be bought before the courts,” he said.
Counter-terrorism authorities in the UK view “Inspire” magazine as being targeted at those living in the West and published on the Internet in order to encourage the Western reader to attack the nation where he or she lives.
The International Herald Tribune’s magazine recently reported that “Inspire” was reappearing and calling on Al Qaeda activists to carry out fire bombing in the USA.
“Inspire” is not to be confused with a British periodical also called “Inspire” which is a free Christian magazine produced in partnership with major Christian charities.
The “Inspire” possessed by Hasnath is published on the Internet by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. The editions are written in English and according to security sources provide practical guidance on how to commit acts of terrorism, which brings them within the ambit of section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000.
It is a criminal offence in Britain to be in possession of a document likely to be of use to a terrorist. The British legislation making it a potential crime is not necessarily replicated abroad.
The US “Northeast Intelligence Network: Pursuing the truth to preserve our nation” hosted by the Homeland Security web-site makes available a pdf file of the entire January 2011 issue: “This issue also contains instructions of various methods to destroy buildings, although all of the ideas and methods suggested was determined to be easily accessed on open sources. From a counter-terrorism prospective, the article provides specific insight into what various suspicious activities and items that law enforcement officers, landlords, building managers and ordinary citizens should be looking for.”
The open access web site says: “The Northeast Intelligence Network is making the issue available for download. Simply use your mouse to RIGHT CLICK here for the PDF file to save it to your computer.”
The only warning given to Internet surfers is that “This is a large file – 13 M.”
On July 1 2010, a Foreign Policy blog posted by Blake Hounsell and entitled: ‘Is al Qaeda’s new English-language magazine any good?” also offered the opportunity to download a copy of the publication, though with the warning that you would do so at “your own risk.”
The East India Dock Road in Poplar where Hasnath was arrested in October last year.