Three Muslim men were found guilty of the biggest terror plot since a 2006 conspiracy to bomb transatlantic airplanes was foiled. Prosecutors alleged the plan would have been even deadlier than the July 5, 2005 bombing on London’s transportation system, in which the underground rail system and a double decker bus were targeted. That attack killed 52 and injured more than 700. This most recent plot was thankfully uncovered before anything happened.
The men were found to be greatly influenced by American Al-Qaeda imam, Anwar Al Awlaki, who was killed in a drone strike. Awlaki (also spelled Aulaqi), served as imam to a mosque in Falls Church, Virginia, where he preached to the 9/11 attackers, and also exchanged several emails with Nidal Malik Hasan, the Army psychiatrist who went on a rampage at Fort Hood, killing several people before he, himself was killed.
Awlaki was just as dangerous, if not more dangerous, than Osama bin Laden, in terms of developing extremists, although President Obama has taken heat from some U.S. citizens for killing him with a drone instead of giving him a fair trial, the fact is, he is dead and no longer able to spew his twisted view of Islam.
The men who plotted a terror attack were born in the UK and from Birmingham, England. Irfan Naseer, 31, Irfan Khalid, 27, and Ashik Ali, 27, were convicted of plotting to set off a series of eight bombs nestled in backpacks scattered in crowded areas of London. Two of the men, Naseer and Khalid, were found to have traveled to Pakistan for terror training, and also to recruit more men into their terror network.
The three men were sentenced to life in prison, although all three of them have denied the charges. However, the British intelligence agency, MI5, recorded them discussing their plot during the course of an 18-month investigation.
The men had falsely posed as street collectors for a charity called Muslim Aid. They had collected more than Â£12,000 ($18,400), but lost the majority of that money due to poor investments in the foreign currency markets and had to take out loans to recoup their losses.
Some of the plots investigators heard during their surveillance of Naseer, Khalid, and Ali are enough to make your toes curl. The men discussed other outlandish and ideas, like welding knife blades to the front of a truck and driving it into a crowd, or smearing poisoned beauty cream on the steering wheels of random vehicles. If these men had succeeded in their terror plot, there’s no telling how many innocent lives would have been lost.
And again, they were followers of the late Anwar Al Awlaki, who preached violence against non-Muslims. People might rage against President Obama for drone strikes, but the fact remains, a terrorist is dead, and can no longer preach his brand of violent hate anymore.