An engineer has become the first white British Muslim to be convicted of terrorism offences after he was found guilty of inciting others to join a jihad in Iraq.
Simon Keeler, 35, was found guilty with preacher of hate Abu Izzadeen, the Al Qaeda disciple who glorified suicide bombers and once famously heckled Home Secretary John Reid.
Izzadeen, whose real name is Trevor Brooks, 32, led a group of Islamic radicals – including Keeler – who stormed the moderate Regents Park Mosque in central London and then forced back police who tried to evict them.
While western troops were fighting in Fallujah in Nov 2004 the group delivered a series of speeches at the mosque boasting that they were terrorists and exhorting followers to give donations to buy arms for the holy war in Iraq.
The speeches also coincided with a night of the Muslim festival of Ramadan known as the “Night of Power” and were recorded on a DVD lasting nearly five hours.
Brooks told his audience: “So we are terrorists – terrify the enemies of Allah. The Americans and British only understand one language. It’s the language of blood.”
He joked about those who died in the World Trade Center, telling his braying audience that the atrocity “changed many people’s lives – especially those inside.”
Brooks said anybody in Iraq who helped the Americans should be killed and also justified the beheading of British hostage Kenneth Bigley.
The court heard that in another speech, recorded two years later in Birmingham, Brooks asked his audience; “Are you ready for another 7/7?”.
Keeler meanwhile, told listeners at the Regents Park Mosque: “Give your money to Osama Bin Laden, give your money to the Mujahideen. Go there physically and fight. Come fight the jihad. Islam will dominate the world, inevitable.”
He went on to call September 11 a “great day” and praised the suicide bombers as “the Magnificent 19”.
Both men were found guilty of incitement to terrorism abroad along with two of their associates – Abdul Rehman Saleem, also known as Abu Yahya, 31, and Ibrahim Abdullah Hassan, 21.
It followed a 10-week trial at Kingston Crown Court in London .
Brooks, Keeler and two other men, Shah Jalal Hussain, 24, and Abdul Muhid, 24, were found guilty of collecting money for terrorists in Iraq which carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
All the speakers at the mosque were members of, or associated with the now outlawed Al-Muhajiroun group led by radical cleric Omar Bakri Mohammed, who left for Lebanon in the wake of the July 2005 bombings.
The DVD of speeches from the mosque was found at Bakri’s home in Haringey, North London in 2006.
Police had been called to the mosque at the time but were forced away by a crowd. One female officer said she was pushed, shoved and spat at.
Prosecutor Jonathan Laidlaw said the defendants had “crossed the line” of freedom of expression by some considerable distance.
He said: “Their views are by ordinary standards, among other things, intolerant, racist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic.
“They actually encouraged others to join in the jihad in Iraq, to join the insurgency and to take up arms against American and British forces serving there.”
Keeler was born to a Roman Catholic family in Crawley, Sussex and his parents worked on RAF bases in Lincolnshire and Hampshire. His brother Colin joined the army.
He became an apprentice engineer before converting to Islam in 1996, changing his name to Sulayman and attending meetings held by terror preacher Abu Hamza at the Finsbury Park Mosque in London.
Father-of-three Brooks, who trained as an electrician but lives on state benefits of ?1,000 a month, was born to a Christian Jamaican family in Hackney, north London.
He converted to Islam at 17 and was radicalised after meeting Bakri at Finsbury Park Mosque in the late 1990s.
Brooks harassed John Reid when he met with Muslims at a school in east London in Sept 2006. He branded the Home Secretary “an enemy of Islam.”
Wearing traditional Islamic robes throughout the trial, Brooks and the other defendants refused to stand when the judge entered and left the court room.
They had denied the charges, claiming they were being politically persecuted because of their views.
Their co-defendants Muhid and Saleem were self-proclaimed “Soldiers of Allah” who helped organise protests in central London where extremists called for suicide bombings after cartoons of the prophet Mohammed were published in Denmark.
The men will be sentenced on Friday.
See also: Abu Izzadeen’s speeches