A 23 year-old Heathrow Airport worker who called herself the “Lyrical Terrorist” became the first woman to be convicted under new terrorism legislation yesterday.
Samina Malik burst into tears in the dock as a jury found her guilty, by a majority of ten to one, of possessing records likely to be used for terrorism.
Malik wrote poems entitled How To Behead and The Living Martyrs and stocked a “library” of documents useful to terrorists, the Old Bailey heard.
Malik, who worked airside at WH Smith, was an unlikely but committed Islamic extremist, a jury was told.
She once wrote on the back of a shop receipt: “The desire within me increases every day to go for martyrdom.”
Yesterday, Malik was convicted under the Terrorism Act 2000 of possessing records likely to be useful in terrorism. She was earlier cleared by a jury of a separate count of possessing an article for terrorism.
Judge Peter Beaumont bailed Malik, under what he described as “house arrest”, to be sentenced next month.
He told her: “You have been in many respects a complete enigma to me”, and warned
her that “all sentencing options remain open”.
Jonathan Sharp, prosecuting, told a jury that Malik liked to be known as the “lyrical terrorist”, or “a stranger awaiting martyrdom”.
“She is a committed Islamic extremist, who supports terrorism and terrorists. She had a library of material and that collection would be extremely useful for planning terrorist activity.”
However, he added: “She was an unlikely person to be an active supporter of terrorism.”
The court heard she visited a website linked to jailed cleric Abu Hamza and stored material about weapons at her family home. She was arrested in October last year
But Malik, of Southall, west London, told the jury: “I am not a terrorist.”
She claimed to have used the nickname “Lyrical Terrorist” because she thought it was “cool”.
When her bedroom was searched, police found a ringbinder full of documents, as well as a bracelet bearing the word “jihad”.
They also discovered a sticker on a mirror inside the door, bearing the words “lyrical terrorist”.
In one handwritten document found by police, she wrote: “Many opportunities have been given to me, but something always holds me back.
“I always sit alone to think and ponder how it would be to unite with the Muslim ummah and to go shoot rocket-launchers, help them load their ammunition, nurse the wounded, and what the atmosphere would be like.
“I wonder how it will be on the front line. Without a doubt it is scary. One must be strong physically and mentally. I sit and ponder day after day, night after night.
“I want to have the death of a shaheed (martyr)… I want the opportunity to take part in the blessed sacred duty of jihad.”
Also found were publications from an Islamic extremist group called Followers of Ahl us-Sunnah Wal-Jammaa’ah (ASWJ) linked to another group, The Saved Sect, and extremist cleric Sheikh Omar Bakri.
The court heard that Malik joined an extremist organisation called Jihad Way, set up explicitly to disseminate terrorist propaganda and support for al-Qaeda.
She also belonged to a website called Hi-5, described in court as similar to social networking sites Facebook or MySpace. On this, she listed her interests as: “Helping the mujaheddin in any way which I can… I am well known as lyrical terrorist.”
Under favourite TV shows, her entry said: “Watching videos by my Muslim brothers in Iraq, yep the beheading ones, watching video messages by Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahri and other videos which show massacres of the kaffirs [infidels].”