Doctors’ jihad plot: “who would have suspected two doctors to have been involved in such planning?”
Well, one who is convinced that poverty and/or lack of education causes terrorism might have been surprised. Of course, such a glaring exception to the theory should only point more strongly to the fact that there must be some other factor at work in jihadist violence — something to do with jihad, for starters. Most, however, will continue to search for something else altogether: alienation, “otherness,” British foreign policy, and so forth.
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“With a job that brought in an annual salary of over Rs. 19,00,000 ($56,000) a year, 31-year-old Peerbhoy is as distant as could be imagined from the madrasa-educated, no-prospects jihadist of media caricature.”
Islamic extremists Bilal Abdulla, 29, and Mohammed Asha, 27, plotted the “spectaculars” as “punishment” for Britain’s foreign policy in Iraq and Israel, it is alleged.
Iraqi national Abdulla and a third man, Kafeel Ahmed, tried and failed to blow up cars packed with gas canisters, nails and petrol outside a nightclub in London’s West End in June 2007.
When those devices failed to detonate, Abdulla and Ahmed launched the alleged suicide attack on Glasgow Airport the following day. Ahmed, 28, later died from burns he sustained after setting off petrol bombs which failed to blow up their Jeep.
Saudi-born Asha, a senior house officer in the neurology department of University Hospital of North Staffordshire, was not directly involved in either attack but supplied money to buy the cars and bomb components, was in touch with the other two men at crucial stages of the plot and may have offered “spiritual and ideological guidance”, the prosecution allege.
Three other cars had been purchased by the gang and other possible targets including the Old Bailey and the City of London had been filmed by the plotters, Woolwich Crown Court in south east London was told.
Jonathan Laidlaw QC, prosecuting, said: “In addition to the killing of the innocent the objective was to seize public attention, both here and internationally. By the carrying out of a series of explosions, with no warning as to where the next strike would occur, the terrorists knew the public would be gripped by fear.”
He added that the attacks failed through sheer “good fortune” on the part of the public.
“Apart from the shocking nature of the activity these two defendants were engaged in, the extraordinary thing is that both men are doctors,” said Mr Laidlaw. “They turned their attention away from the treating of illness to the planning of murder.”
Mr Laidlaw said the plot had not been picked up by the security services, but “who would have suspected two doctors to have been involved in such planning?”
Both men deny conspiracy to murder and conspiracy to cause explosions.
The jury was told that the plot, which had taken six months to plan, was put into action when Ahmed and Abdulla drove two Mercedes cars packed with gas canisters and nails from their rented house in Glasgow to London, where they parked outside the Tiger Tiger nightclub in the Haymarket, which was packed with more than 500 people.
The second of the cars, a blue, L-registered Mercedes, was parked near a bus stop in Cockspur Street, just south of the night club, possibly as a secondary device “deliberately placed there so it would be in the path of those evacuated.”