Saturday, October 11, 2008

NWOBJ (Junior Section)

Remember the Ravensthorpe Ravers, potentially (if convicted) 'Britain's youngest terrorists' ?

The trial continues :

The schoolboys attended Westborough High School, in Dewsbury, West Yorks, the home town of a number of the London Suicide Bombers, Leeds Crown Court heard. Ali's former religious education teacher and form mistress Nichola Colloby told the trial he school was 85 per cent Asian, but none of them was as religiously or politically obsessive as he was.

Mrs Colloby said: "Wasir said he was interested in becoming a politician and he was very interested in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was of the opinion that that he terrorist attack on America was a good, positive thing and he saw America as the enemy."

In art lessons his paintings concerned the teacher and he wrote the slogans 'President Bush must die' and 'Tony Blair must die'.

His year planner, in which ordinary pupils inserted holidays, birthdays or sports events, was confiscated as he wrote 'September 11, Twin Towers blown up – 3,000 dead!'

Mrs Colloby said all Ali ever wanted to discuss was the Muslim and American struggle. "It was quite disturbing really," she said. "He was vehement that his was the right opinion and he could not empathise with the other view."

Mrs Colloby, who has an American partner, told the jury that she entered her classroom in April 2006 to see Ali being restrained by fellow pupils.

On her white board in black marker were the words 'All Americans MUST die!'

She said: "Wasir was being held by one of the other students because some of the others wanted to be physically violent with him. One said 'Look Miss, look what Wasir has written on your board'. I was upset and angry."

She said the whole class knew her partner was American and their three-year-old daughter was half-American.

Hmm. Not a terribly empathetic chap, then. And what sensible children. Interesting look at the cultural front line - Mirfield Grammar School, where Wasir Ali enrolled to do A-levels.

The court was told that despite the initial concerns, Ali was enrolled to do A-levels in philosophy and ethics, history and psychology.

However, his vocal attitude in the classroom soon unsettled several members of staff – and within days they had expressed their concerns to Mr Hawkins.

The court heard Ali had become "excited and animated" by a picture of the 9/11 twin towers attacks which featured on one of his textbooks and had "challenged teachers in a really unhelpful way" about issues such as abortion and divorce. After a meeting with Mr Hawkins, Ali was eventually asked to go home in a bid to "cool him down a bit".
However he only attended once or twice more and eventually withdrew from the course completely.
I wonder if "challenged teachers in a really unhelpful way" means "challenged teachers" in the context of abortion and divorce. I must say it'd be interesting to know how teachers with 'partners', signed up to the whole liberal package, handle kids who've been taught, as British kids were once taught, that fornication and divorce are sins - and abortion is murder. I wish some of them - or even one of them - blogged.

But he doesn't seem to be quite as harmless as I'd supposed.

Ali, now 18, denies three charges of possessing articles for terrorist purposes, namely a copy of the Anarchists' Cookbook, 3.5kg of potassium nitrate and a quantity of calcium chloride. His co-accused Dabeer Hussain, also 18, denies one count of possessing the cookbook, which lists how to make lethal bombs.
I still don't know what the calcium chloride's for - unless to remove water from some other compound, as it's generally used as a desiccant - anyone know ? - but 7lbs of saltpetre is enough to make a fair whack of gunpowder - a David Copeland-sized device, if not bigger.

UPDATE - both were acquitted.

Mr Ali, of Dearnley Street, Dewsbury, was also accused of buying and storing significant amounts of potassium nitrate and calcium chloride, chemicals which can be used in the preparation of a bomb. But the teenager said he was a "prankster" who was interested in experimenting with fireworks and making smoke bombs.

Mr Hussain, of Clarkson Street, Dewsbury, said he had been sent a copy of the Anarchists' Cookbook but had not read it and was not interested in politics. Speaking outside the court after the verdicts, Mr Ali said he was "extremely relieved" that he had been cleared of the charges but was angry about how he had been treated. "I believe that if I was not from a Muslim background, I would not have been prosecuted," he said. "I have had to live in fear of being branded a terrorist. I feel it was completely obvious once the police looked up the evidence that I had nothing to do with terrorism at all. Silly teenage chat and things I said at school were taken out of context and presented as if it was evidence that I was an extremist."