05 Dec 2007

BBC Paid for Terrorists’ Paintball Training

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Too funny to be true, but true anyway.

London Times:

The BBC funded a paintballing trip for men later accused of Islamic terrorism and failed to pass on information about the 21/7 bombers to police, a court was told yesterday.

Mohammed Hamid, who is charged with overseeing a two-year radicalisation programme to prepare London-based Muslim youths for jihad, was described as a “cockney comic” by a BBC producer.

The BBC paid for Mr Hamid and fellow defendants Muhammad al-Figari and Mousa Brown to go on a paintballing trip at the Delta Force centre in Tonbridge, Kent, in February 2005. The men, accused of terrorism training, were filmed for a BBC programme called Don’t Panic, I’m Islamic, screened in June 2005.

The BBC paid Mr Hamid, an Islamic preacher who denies recruiting and grooming the men behind the failed July 2005 attack, a £300 fee to take part in the programme, Woolwich Crown Court was told. …

Nasreen Suleaman, a researcher on the programme, told the court that Mr Hamid, 50, contacted her after the July 2005 attack and told her of his association with the bombers. But she said that she felt no obligation to contact the police with this information. Ms Suleaman said that she informed senior BBC managers but was not told to contact the police.

Ms Suleaman told the court that Mr Hamid was keen to appear in the programme. She said: “He was so up for it. We took the decision that paintballing would be a fun way of introducing him.

“There are many, many British Muslims that I know who for the past 15 or 20 years have been going paintballing. It’s a harmless enough activity. I don’t think there is any suggestion, or ever has been, that it’s a terrorist training activity.”

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