Six Islamist extremists have been jailed for a total of more than 100 years for plotting a gun and bomb attack on an English Defence League rally that could have sparked spiralling communal violence in Britain. The Islamist extremists planned a bomb and gun attack on an English Defence League rally in the knowledge that it would spark a tit-for-tat spiral of violence, a court heard. The plot to bomb the rally in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, in June last year failed only because of a mixture of incompetence and chance after the plotters turned up late. One of their cars was then impounded following a traffic check on their way home. The bungling group had planned the attack for eight weeks, including research to find the telephone number of the EDL’s leader Tommy Robinson and tracking the location of EDL rallies. The Old Bailey heard that it had planned “terrible vengeance” on the EDL for what it saw as blasphemous words and actions against Islam.
The six men being sentenced, all from the West Midlands, admitted planning the attack in April 2012. Jewel Uddin, 27, Omar Mohammed Khan, 31, and Zohaib Ahmed, 22, were jailed for 19-and-a-half years. Mohammed Hasseen, 24, Anzal Hussain, 25, and Mohammed Saud, 23, were given jail terms of 18 years and nine months.
All of the men except Hasseen travelled to Dewsbury on the day of the rally but arrived at around 4pm, while the event had finished earlier than expected, at 2pm. They were armed with two shotguns, swords, knives, a nail bomb containing 458 pieces of shrapnel, and a partially assembled pipe bomb.
As they drove home to Birmingham, one of their cars was pulled over by police because a plotter failed to fill out an online application form properly and the car showed up as having no insurance. The weapons were found several days later along with declarations of war addressed to the “kafir (non-believer) female and self-proclaimed Queen Elizabeth” and David Cameron. The plotters were rounded up by West Midlands officers after a huge anti-terrorism operation.
Bobbie Cheema QC, prosecuting, told the court: “They intended to bring about a violent confrontation with the EDL during which they intended to use weapons to cause serious injuries and they anticipated, each one of them, that some victims may have died.”
Mr Robinson briefly watched proceedings from the public gallery of the Old Bailey and called out “God Save the Queen” when the sentences were announced. Outside, police stepped up security as dozens of EDL members gathered at a pub close to the court. One man was held on suspicion of being drunk and disorderly.