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Accused urged Muslims to 'join the battle', court hears

Published 09/06/2016

Five men are on trial at the Old Bailey in central London
Five men are on trial at the Old Bailey in central London

An alleged extremist encouraged support for Islamic State during a church hall meeting for hardline Muslims, asking them: "Are we going to join the battle once the battle is over?", a court has heard.

The man urged his audience to back the terrorist group in the meeting on June 29 last year, the first anniversary of IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's declaration of a caliphate spanning part of Syria and Iraq, prosecutors allege.

Prosecutor Sean Larkin QC said the speeches were recorded by an undercover police officer who had infiltrated the group.

The accused, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, is on trial at the Old Bailey in London charged with four counts of encouraging support for a proscribed organisation, which he denies.

The jury of six men and six women heard a transcript of the speech made at St Margaret's Anglican church in Luton, in which he said: "You can hear the presidents and the kings and the prime ministers making their speeches, that obviously we heard David Cameron saying obviously that the terrorists, they will never come here, Britain will succeed, and they used to say in the past that the British Empire, the sun will never set on the British Empire. Well the sun has set on the British Empire and the sun has started to rise for this Islamic State."

Mr Larkin told the jury that prosecutors believe the remarks were describing "not a possible Islamic state in the future, not the one that was ended in 1924, this Islamic State".

The prosecutor said the man went on to talk about Muslims who, while they may support Islamic State's aims, were waiting for it to be victorious before coming out and showing their support.

Mr Larkin read a transcript of the speech in which the man said: "This is not victory for us. Are we going to join the battle once the battle is over? This cannot be the situation."

Four other people are also on trial:

:: A second man who cannot be identified for legal reasons is charged with three counts of arranging a meeting in support of a proscribed organisation.

:: Yousaf Bashir, 35, from Luton, is accused of encouraging support for a proscribed organisation on June 29 2015.

:: Rajib Khan, 38, from Luton, is charged with encouraging support for a proscribed organisation and arranging a meeting in support of a proscribed organisation, both on July 11 2015.

:: Mohammed Choudry, 22, from Maidenhead, Berkshire, is charged with encouraging support for a proscribed organisation on July 2.

All the men deny all the charges against them.

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