Hassan Butt held in anti-terror probe
A MANCHESTER man who admits being a former al-Qaida recruiter was being questioned today by anti-terror police.
Hassan Butt, author of a book on his terrorist past, was detained at Manchester Airport yesterday afternoon.
Mr Butt, 31, is understood to have arrived at Terminal 2 and bought a ticket to Lahore, Pakistan, 45 minutes before the Pakistan International Airlines flight was due to leave.
He is being questioned by Greater Manchester's regional counter terrorism unit. Since his arrest, police have searched his home in north Manchester and two other properties nearby.
Mr Butt, who has previously been arrested twice under the Terrorism Act, previously told the M.E.N. in 2004 of wanting to become a martyr before he reached 40.
But the high-profile author says he completely changed his mind about terrorism following the 7/7 attacks in London.
He told Newsnight in April: “I realised that the Jihadi network was not killing for the sake of Islam, it was killing for the sake of causing terror and causing havoc.” Since then he says he has been working with some of his original recruits to try to turn them away from terror.
Last July Mr Butt was invited by the Home Office to discuss his ideas on how to prevent young people from becoming radicalised.
He has claimed Greater Manchester police are harassing him over suspicions that he is secretly still a Jihadist.
He is reported to have said last month that he was prepared to confess his past life and even go to prison for what he did to prove the sincerity of his change of heart.
Posted on 05/10/2008 7:55 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax