Dewsbury EDL bombers sentencing hearing to go into next week

BOMBERS' TARGET The EDL rally in Dewsbury last summer.
BOMBERS' TARGET The EDL rally in Dewsbury last summer.

Would-be bombers who targeted a far-right demonstration in Dewsbury will be sentenced on Monday.

Six men who pleaded guilty to to planning a terror attack on a demonstration by members of the English Defence League (EDL) were expected to be sentenced todday, but the hearing will run into a third day next week.

The hearing, at the Old Bailey in London, today heard mititgation on behalf of the men, who are all from the West Midlands.

Jewel Uddin, 27, Omar Mohammed Khan, 31, Mohammed Hasseen, 24, Anzal Hussain, 25, Mohammed Saud, 23, and Zohaib Ahmed, 22, admitted planning the attack at a hearing on April 30.

The court heard how the planned attack was a reaction to the EDL’s “calculated insults” of Islam.

Joel Bennathan QC, for Khan, said: “The EDL stage rallies in what they perceive, rightly, to be areas with large Muslim populations. They are intimidating when they do so.

“They are obviously and very deliberately insulting to any Muslims. One doesn’t need a degree in theology to have spotted the fact that to a Muslim a personal insult to the Prophet Mohammed is a very serious matter.

“They are intimidating, they are insulting and they are provocative.”

All of the men except Hasseen travelled to Dewsbury on June 30 last year but arrived two hours after the demo had dispersed.

They were armed with two shotguns, swords, knives, a nail bomb containing 458 pieces of shrapnel, and a partially-assembled pipe bomb.

The nail bomb was an 18-inch rocket stuffed with shrapnel and was to be powered by explosives taken from at least two large fireworks.

Judge Nicholas Hilliard QC was given a disc containing video clips of EDL members shouting offensive chants, claiming that the prophet Mohammed was a paedophile and chanting about burning down mosques.

Mr Bennathan said the bloody plot was “an undoubtedly domestic bit of planned violence, with young British men reacting to the calculated insults of other young British men”.

He said: “For community relations, it is a hugely good thing that nothing happened that day.

“Because any attempted violence against the EDL would have led not to Muslim young men who want to physically engage being retaliated against, but mosques, women and children being attacked in supposed retaliation for this.”

Danny Friedman QC, for Hasseen, said the men had worked themselves up into “a very great state of fear” in the run-up to the planned atrocity.

He told the court: “It would be wrong to say that the fear and anger that these men and others felt towards the EDL was completely irrational and unfounded.”

Mr Friedman said the group had been drawn to radical Islamic ideology as a reaction to the fear that they felt.

He said: “Young men reach to ideology to explain away fear and loathing about their communities being attacked and that’s what we submit happened here.”

Sentencing is due to take place on Monday.