Four life terms for jihad recruiter
A former Taliban fighter who ran a "recruitment centre" for extremist Muslims to go to Afghanistan to kill British troops has been jailed for life.
Pakistani-born British citizen Munir Farooqi, 54, was at the centre of a plot to radicalise and persuade vulnerable young men to "fight, kill and die" in a jihad in Afghanistan, Manchester Crown Court heard.
Farooqi, of Victoria Terrace, Longsight, Manchester, and two others were captured in a police sting when two undercover anti-terrorism police officers infiltrated his group.
Farooqi bragged to the officers how he had fought with the Taliban and told them they could become "martyrs" for the jihad cause. He also found "amusement" in the sight of the flag draped coffins of fallen allied troops returning from Afghanistan, the court heard.
Farooqi was given four life sentences and told he must serve a minimum of nine years before he can be considered for parole. He was convicted of preparing for acts of terrorism, three counts of soliciting to murder and one count of dissemination of terrorist publications, following a four-month trial.
Passing sentence, Mr Justice Richard Henriques said Farooqi had used his experiences fighting with the Taliban as a "tool of recruitment" to run the "Manchester recruitment centre" from Islamic bookstalls in the city.
The father-of-three was running a Dawah, Islamic, book stall on Longsight market in Manchester to spread the word of Islam, with the help of co-defendants Matthew Newton, 29, and Israr Malik, 23. British Muslim convert Newton, a former estate agent, and petty crook Malik both became involved in the plan to radicalise and recruit the officers.
Malik, 23, of Bowden Avenue, Fallowfield, Manchester, was convicted of preparing for acts of terrorism and two counts of soliciting to murder. He was given an indeterminate sentence for public protection and told he must serve a minimum of five years before parole is considered but will only be released if he is deemed no longer a danger to the pubic.
Newton, a 29-year-old former British Army recruit from Stockport Road, Levenshulme, Manchester, was convicted of preparing for acts of terrorism and two counts of dissemination of terrorist publications. He was jailed for six years.
Munir Farooqi's son Harris was cleared on Thursday by the jury of a single count of engaging in conduct in preparation for terrorism. He sat in the back of the public gallery as his father was jailed for life.