A 23-year-old former Heathrow shop assistant who called herself the “lyrical terrorist” and scrawled her extremist thoughts on till receipts has been handed a nine-month suspended jail sentence.
Samina Malik became the first woman convicted under new terrorism legislation after writing poems entitled How To Behead and The Living Martyrs.
Malik, described as an “unlikely but committed” Islamic extremist, was last month convicted by an jury at the Old Bailey of a charge under the 2000 Terrorism Act.
She worked at WH Smith at Heathrow, where she scribbled her extremist lyrics on till receipts. On one she wrote: “The desire within me increases every day to go for martyrdom.”
But Malik told the jury she only adopted her “lyrical terrorist” nickname because she thought it was “cool” and insisted: “I am not a terrorist.”
She wept as she was found guilty of possessing records likely to be useful in terrorism by a majority of 10 to one. Two female jurors were also in tears. The court heard that Malik stocked a “library” of material useful to terrorists at her family home in Southall, west London.
Jonathan Sharp, prosecuting, told the court she visited a website linked to jailed cleric Abu Hamza and stored material about weapons. The court also heard Malik belonged to a social networking website called hi5, describing her interests as “helping the mujaheddin in any way which I can”.
Under favourite TV shows, she listed: “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.”
But Muhammed Abdul Bari, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, said he did not think her actions were a criminal matter. “Many young people download objectionable material from the Internet, but it seems if you are a Muslim then this could lead to criminal charges, even if you have absolutely no intention to do harm to anyone else.
“Samina’s so-called poetry was certainly offensive but I don’t believe this case should really have been a criminal matter. Young people may well have some silly thoughts. That should not be criminalised. It is their actions that we should be concerned about.”
After her conviction, Judge Peter Beaumont, the recorder of London, warned her that “all sentencing options remain open” as he granted her bail. He told her: “You have been, in many respects, a complete enigma to me.”