Jailed terrorist gang who planned “mumbai-style” atrocity get 95 years jail
A gang of Muslim extremists inspired to launch a deadly UK terror campaign by hate preacher Anjem Choudary were jailed for a total of nearly 95 years on Thursday.
Lynchpin Mohammed Chowdhury, 21, from Poplar and right-hand man Shah Rahman, 29, from East Ham, planned to plant a bomb in the Stock Exchange and were seen scouting other potential targets including Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and the London Eye.
A handwritten hit list containing the names and addresses of Boris Johnson, the Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral, two rabbis and details about the American Embassy was also found at Chowdhury’s home in Cassills Road,
Members of the gang hoped to launch a co-ordinated shooting and bombing attack on the capital in a “Mumbai-style” atrocity in the run-up to Christmas 2010.
Six of the nine men had been personally taught by former Islam4UK spokesman Choudary, while four were also in contact with convicted terrorists.
Chowdhury, 26, and Rahman, 29, of St Bernard’s Road, along with others from Stoke-on-Trent, Birmingham and Cardiff had admitted engaging in conduct in preparation for acts of terrorism, contrary to section 5 (1) of the Terrorism Act 2006.
They had initially claimed their meetings were part of an innocent plan to raise money for an Islamic project in Kashmir.
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Chowdhury, described as the “lynchpin” of the terrorist plot, was jailed for 13 years and eight months after pleading guilty to preparing to commit an act of terrorism but could now serve just six years in prison because of time in prison on remand.
Rahman also admitted the offence and was jailed for at least 12 years,
Gang members planned to make a bomb and detonate it at the Stock Exchange by posing as traders and planting explosives in the toilets in the hope the building would catch fire.
They also discussed sending explosives to the other targets in the Square Mile by Royal Mail and via courier firm DHL, in a plot inspired by Al-Awlaki.
They hoped to send five mail bombs to UK targets in the Christmas post and launch an even bigger attack the following Easter.
Sentencing the gang to a total of 94 years and eight months, Mr Justice Wilkie said: “About a year or more before the offences the offenders became actively engaged in the Muslim faith.
“They were attracted to and espoused a radical version of Islam that is rejected by most Muslims in the UK as illegitimate and a perversion of the faith.
“They became attracted to the influence of radical clerics who preached the obligation to become involved in a struggle not only to fight occupiers in Muslim lands but to attack non-Muslims in the UK.
“These views were associated with the radical cleric known as Anwar Al Awlaki, whose message included attacking Western countries by any means necessary.’
“Great praise is due to the security services both for the thoroughness and sophistication of their monitoring of these defendants and their ultimate intervention before any harm could be done.”