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Muslims guilty of firebomb plot on publisher of Prophet Mohammed book
A radical Muslim who dressed his baby daughter in a hat with “I love al-Qaeda” on it tried to firebomb the home of the publisher of a controversial novel about the Prophet Mohammed.
Ali Beheshti, 40, along with Abrar Mirza, 22, have admitted conspiracy to recklessly damage property and endanger life after they poured diesel through the letterbox of a publishing house in Islington, North London.
Abbas Taj, 30, a mini-cab driver, was found guilty at Croydon Crown court of conspiracy to firebomb the home of Martin Rynja, the publisher of The Jewel Of Medina.
Beheshti’s 20-month-old daughter, Farisa, was pictured wearing the hat when he took her along to a protest against Danish cartoons of the prophet Mohammed and proudly called her “the youngest member of al-Qaeda”.
He waved banners vowing to “Massacre those who insult Islam” and promising “Europe, your 9/11 will come!” During the protests in 2006 he called himself Abu Jihad — meaning holy war.
The three men began their attack when publisher Mr Rynja was preparing to release The Jewel Of Medina, a novel about the Prophet Mohammed and the life of his child bride, Aisha.
The trio were planning to spend the night at Regent’s Park Mosque, in North London, as part of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, but shortly after arrival they set out with “fire-making equipment” for the home of Mr Rynja.
Diesel bought by Beheshti, from Ilford, East London, stored in a green container inside a white plastic bag, was transferred to the boot of Taj’s Honda Accord at around 10.30pm, the evening before the arson attack.
Taj and Beheshti then drove to pick up Mirza, a mobile phone salesman, from near the Queen’s Road Mosque in Walthamstow, northeast London. That place, looming over my parent's grave as it does is an abomination.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner John McDowall, head of the Met's Counter Terrorism Command, said: “These men planned to carry out arson as a violent reaction and protest against the publishing of a book. They did not care whether anybody would be killed or injured when they poured diesel through the letterbox and set fire to it.
“Photographs, tapes and documents found at their homes showed the violent mindset of this trio of arsonists. This was a professional, proactive investigation which left Ali Beheshti and Abrar Mirza with no choice but to admit their guilt when faced with overwhelming evidence.
“Abbas Taj denied being a part of the conspiracy, claiming he was an innocent party who was merely giving his friends a lift. But the jury has seen through his lies and convicted him today.”
After 10 hours and 45 minutes of deliberation, Taj was convicted of conspiracy to recklessly damage property and endanger life by a majority.