Few people will have heard of Moinal Abedin. But he has a uniquely chilling CV. Abedin is widely acknowledged to be Britain’s first Al Qaeda- inspired terrorist.
In 2002, he was jailed for 20 years for turning a terrace house in Birmingham’s Sparkbrook district into a bomb-making factory. Among the deadly haul was an industrial quantity of the chemical required for the high explosive HMTD, which was used in the July 7 attacks on London’s Tube and bus network in 2005.
The security services were convinced that Abedin, who had attended a terrorist training camp on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, was plotting to kill large numbers of people. He was 25 at the time, married with two children, and working as a waiter, then a used-car salesman.
Moinal Abedin is 42 now and, according to someone who knows him, he has just completed his sentence and is back on the streets of Birmingham where his ‘career’ began.
During his time inside, Sparkbrook has become synonymous with Islamic extremism; one in ten of all Britain’s convicted Islamic terrorists, we now know, have come from Sparkbrook (population 30,000) and four adjoining council wards. In total, these highly concentrated Muslim enclaves, occupying a few square miles of the city, have produced 26 of the country’s 269 known jihadis convicted in Britain of terror offences.
The disturbing statistic is contained in the most comprehensive study of terror convictions in the UK. The 1,000-page report, published earlier this month by security think-tank The Henry Jackson Society, challenges the prevailing liberal view that neighbourhoods such as Sparkbrook are symbols of thriving multiculturalism.
In truth, a parallel society exists in Sparkbrook. In the street where Moinal Abedin was once a familiar face, comprising 150 or so homes, we could find only one remaining white British household. Most Muslims who live in what are effectively segregated communities do not turn out like Abedin. But it seems they are significantly more likely to if they live in Sparkbrook.
But the sweeping social and demographic changes in the heart of Birmingham down the years are only part of the story.
The Labour-controlled administration on Birmingham City council, Europe’s largest local authority, has been consistently accused of turning a blind eye to extremism.
The council itself admitted in the aftermath of the Trojan Horse Scandal — when militant Muslims attempted to infiltrate state schools to impose an Islamic agenda — that it had shied away from the problem out of a ‘fear of being accused of racism’.
Others, including a former head forced out of her school by hardliners, are convinced there was another reason for the council’s inaction: that most Muslims and ethnic minorities in general tend to vote Labour.
The Mail details some instances of corrupt influence in Birmingham council. The machinations of Waseem Zaffar to impose Islamic dress code in a Catholic school, (here). The notorious Trojan Horse school take-over plot (here and here) The Jihadists who trained at a Solihull Paintball centre here. The Muslim councillor who told a prospective candidate she would not support her as she was 'too white and Jewish' Parviz Khan who plotted to kidnap and behead a british soldier sevveral years before the murder of Lee Rigby.
Only a generation ago, the back-to-back terraces around Ladypool Road were populated by a very different community.The residents were made up of indigenous locals and families from Ireland, attracted by cheap housing and employment...began a process of irreversible change that culminated in mass, uncontrolled immigration under New Labour.
No one has witnessed the transformation of Sparkbrook more closely than businessman Steve Mills, who opened his garage in 1988.
Back then, in the unit next door, was a business supplying beer to local pubs. There was also a family butchers’ shop. Across the road, a factory which made the famous Avery weighing scales. One by one, they began to disappear. The old Avery factory is now an Islamic community centre.
‘I think I’m the last [non-Muslim] business left,’ said father-of two Mr Mills, 54. ‘I don’t think I know of any others.’
Many Muslims living here today can trace their origins to the divided state of Kashmir, which has been the centre of an endless territorial dispute between Pakistan and India.
The Kashmir connection is significant. Throughout the Nineties, Kashmiri militants, fighting for an independent Kashmir, travelled to Birmingham openly to raise funds for the cause and inspire young local Muslims to join the fight.
Many of the 26 jihadists revealed to have come from Sparkbrook — and the four neighbouring council wards featured in the Henry Jackson Society report — used Kashmiri militant groups as ‘stepping stones’ to join Al Qaeda.
Back in Ladypool Road, in the heart of the Balti Triangle, there is a restaurant at one end of the street with a function room upstairs. In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, a call to arms was issued to young Muslims during a gathering at these premises, which have now changed hands.
One of the speakers that night was young firebrand calling himself Zahir..real name... Umran Javed.
‘I am a Muslim first and foremost. We will never be accepted by the Kufr [‘unbeliever’] so we should never pander to their whims or support their actions like some so-called Muslims have been doing. If they continue to do so, it is our duty to persuade them not to. But if they do not listen, they are Kufr too and so it is our duty to fight and even kill them.’
Could there be a more chilling insight into the mindset of an Islamic terrorist or a greater betrayal of everything this country has done for him and his family?
Like Moinal Abedin, Britain’s first Al Qaeda-inspired terrorist, Umran Javed is now also back on the streets of Birmingham.