03/Sep/2014 - Last News Update: 00:01

Moinul Abedin: UK's first al-Qaeda inspired bomber

Category: England

Published: 2nd Mar 2012 12:57:34

This week marks the 10th anniversary of the conviction of Britain's first al-Qaeda inspired terrorist.

Moinul Abedin was arrested after police discovered a large quantity of bomb-making material at a rented property in Birmingham. There was little publicity at the time, because current laws did not exist and he was prosecuted under the 1883 Explosives Act.

It was not until later the security services acknowledged his significance.

Abedin, who was 27 at the time of his trial, lived in a terraced house in Sparkbrook in Birmingham with his young family.

He also rented a property nearby in which he stored chemicals and equipment which he bought from local DIY and hardware stores. He made explosives and detonators and set off small devices in a local park to test them.

When he was arrested in November 2000, detectives recovered nearly 100kg of chemicals used in the manufacture of the explosive HMTD.

He claimed that he and a co-defendant, who was acquitted, were setting up a fireworks business. But after a trial at Birmingham Crown Court he was jailed for 20 years.

Surprisingly there was relatively little publicity about the case at the time.

The terms of the 1883 legislation meant the evidence which was heard in the trial concentrated on the explosives and not Abedin's connections or any potential plot.

It was not until 2007, five years after his conviction and nearly seven after his arrest, the security services acknowledged his significance.

Under fire for its foreign policy in Iraq and Afghanistan, and after a series of terror attacks in the UK, the then Home Secretary John Reid pointed out that Abedin's arrest had preceded 9/11.

Now Abedin's name appears at the top of MI5's list of terrorists convicted this century.

The man in charge of the investigation at the time was Chris Sims, now Chief Constable of West Midlands Police.

He said: "This was before there was a common discussion about al-Qaeda and related issues. This was the first time that this has appeared in this country.

"What strikes me looking back was how extraordinary it was that we had no context to put it in. This was before 9/11, so it was investigated in a very straightforward way."

In the decade since Abedin's conviction, there have been more plots foiled and arrests made in Birmingham and the West Midlands. The region now has its own 450-strong dedicated Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU).

There are similar units based in Manchester and Leeds, as well as the long established equivalent in London.

Det Ch Supt Kenny Bell is the head of the West Midlands CTU.

On a visit to the Central Mosque in Birmingham to unveil a new screen with a counter terrorism message, he said: "Now when we arrest somebody, the communities give us the space to carry out our investigations.

"[But] we can't just arrest or convict our way out of terrorism. It's about engaging with those communities so that as we progress through this generation, we can make this place safer".

There are now uniformed CTU officers, based in the community, whose job it is to build those relationships with community leaders and the hundreds of mosques in the area.

The mood has changed noticeably in the past decade, and now it's much rarer to hear overt criticism of the police or their tactics.

There was a setback in 2010 when surveillance cameras were erected in the area without proper consultation under the auspices of Project Champion. But the cameras have been taken down and relationships appear to have been rebuilt.

Moinul Abedin has now served more than half his sentence and so is eligible for parole.

Source:
BBC News External Link Show Citation

Latest News

Harvard Citation

BBC News, 2012. Moinul Abedin: UK's first al-Qaeda inspired bomber [Online] (Updated 2nd Mar 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1415522/Moinul-Abedin-UKs-first-al-Qaeda-inspired-bomber [Accessed 3rd Sep 2014]

News In Other Categories

  • Bristol Academy extends reach overseas with first foreign students

    With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
  • Lancashire BAE Systems management jobs at risk

    Up to 500 management jobs are at risk at BAE Systems in Lancashire, the BBC understands.
  • Apple confirms accounts compromised but denies security breach

    Apple has confirmed that some celebrities' iCloud accounts were broken into, but says it has found no evidence that this was caused by a breach of its security systems.
  • Ebola response lethally inadequate, says MSF

    A global military intervention is needed to curb the largest ever Ebola outbreak, according to the medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres.
  • Apple confirms accounts compromised but denies security breach

    Apple has confirmed that some celebrities' iCloud accounts were broken into, but says it has found no evidence that this was caused by a breach of its security systems.
  • World Economic Forum: UK moves up global economic list

    The UK has edged up the global rankings in a major annual economic survey by the World Economic Forum (WEF).