The magnetic power of Jihadi orators and hate preachers such as Anjem Choudary was dramatically exposed in court yesterday as it was revealed jihad plotter Brustholm Ziamani, a previously devout Christian, was converted to radical Islam in just three months.
Ziamani, 19, was arrested by counter-terror police last year while he was on his way to commit a terrorist attack and found to be carrying a black Islamic Flag, a twelve-inch knife, and a deadly bricklayers hammer. After rejecting his strict Christian upbringing and descending into a world of drugs, prostitutes, and gang violence, the youth had joined Choudary’s illegal terror group al-Muhajiroun and became obsessed with the Islamist killers of British soldier Drummer Lee Rigby.
Under the tutelage of Choudary and his acolytes, Ziamani started to research the locations of local Army Cadet centres and planned to kill a soldier, as had his heroes Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale. Ziamani’s girlfriend said she noticed the change in his behaviour immediately, the Daily Mail reports, and that he even attempted to convert her to Islam.
Remarking that when they met he was “kind, affectionate”, within just two weeks of becoming involved with al-Muhajiroun he was making extreme posts to Facebook about Sharia law. Shortly after, he left his parents home to sleep at his Mosque, and started attending secret radicalisation meetings in the basement below a Halal shop.
Although his radicalisation took place at remarkable speed, he was already on the police radar. The pace of his change from gang member to would-be terrorist so concerned detectives that forty officers were assigned full time to monitoring him, allowing them to swoop and arrest him when he was about to attack, and be charged with that offence.
Scotland Yard was apparently not the only organisation aware of Ziamani and the trouble he was letting himself in for by becoming involved with Choudary and al-Muhajiroun. In a remarkable coincidence Britain First leader Paul Golding confronted Ziamani at a rally in central London last year, a meeting that was recorded by a television camera crew.
Showing unusual prescience, Golding asked of Ziamani: “does it matter to you at all that Anjem Choudary radicalised one of the killers of Lee Rigby? Does it matter that you’re going to be rubbing shoulders with him, a convicted terrorist?”. Ziamani reacted to the suggestion that Choudary had radicalised Lee Rigby’s killers, who are now known to be Ziamani’s idols, by saying: “I don’t know that”.
Choudary himself maintains Ziamani’s innocence, and insists the conviction was secured through a biased jury. Taking to twitter, his usual means of pontificating on matters of the day, Choudary said he “didn’t stand a chance”.