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8 September 2011, 17:15
A former Taliban fighter from Manchester and a British Muslim convert from Tameside who tried to recruit undercover police officers to fight a 'jihad' against British soldiers in Afghanistan were today facing jail.
Pakistani-born British citizen 54 year old Munir Farooqi, was at the centre of a plot to radicalise and persuade the officers to 'fight, kill and die' in a holy war in Afghanistan.
Farooqi, of Victoria Terrace, Longsight, Manchester, was convicted of preparing for acts of terrorism, three counts of soliciting to murder and one count of dissemination of terrorist publications, following a four month trial at Manchester Crown Court.
British Muslim convert 29 year old Matthew Newton of Rydal Walk, Stalybridge, Tameside, was convicted of preparing for acts of terrorism and two counts of dissemination of terrorist publications.
Munir Farooqi's son, 28 year old Harris Farooqi of Stockport Road, Levenshulme, Manchester, was cleared of one count of engaging in conduct for the preparation of terrorism and discharged from the court a free man.
The jury have yet to reach verdicts concerning a fourth defendant, 23 year old Israr Malik, of Bowden Avenue, Fallowfield, Manchester, who is accused of preparing for acts of terrorism and two counts of soliciting to murder.
Munir Farooqi had travelled from his home in Longsight to Afghanistan to join the Taliban shortly after the 9/11 attacks, the court heard. While there he was an 'active terrorist'.
After returning to the UK in 2002 he tried to 'brainwash' two undercover policemen with extreme propaganda to persuade them to go to Afghanistan to carry on the 'jihad'.
The plan began at Islamic bookstalls in Manchester, taking in visits to mosques in the city. The ultimate aim was delivering recruits to 'training camps and battlefields' abroad, the jury heard.
Two undercover police officers, pretending to be at a low ebb in life and interested in Islam, approached the bookstall run by Munir Farooqi on Longsight market.
It was then that a 'delicate' process of radicalisation was begun by Farooqi and Newton, who gave the officers propaganda books and DVDs to persuade them to join the jihad cause.
Both officers were wearing bugging devices to tape the conversations as the 'grooming' of the men continued.
All four defendants had pleaded not guilty to all of the 10 offences allegedly committed between October 2008 and November 2009.
The jury will return to court tomorrow morning to resume deliberations on the remaining counts concerning Malik.
Farooqi and Newton were remanded in custody for sentencing after the conclusion of the trial.