A man described as one of Britain's top terrorist recruiters has been found guilty of training young followers in rural camps in England. For VOA, Tom Rivers reports from London.
Tanzanian-born Mohammed Hamid, who has lived most of his life in Britain, has been found guilty of encouraging others to murder and of running terrorist training camps in rural England.
The 50-year-old Muslim who resided in the east end of London became radicalized in the 1990s and often called himself Osama bin London.
The prosecution portrayed him as a dangerous man who recruited, groomed and provided terrorist training for young Muslim men.
Although his young recruits did not have firearms, they trained with sticks and paint-ball guns in the woods of Britain's Lake District and the New Forest.
Before the trial, Hamid spoke to the BBC about what he saw as the daily violence he was seeing on the television coming out of Afghanistan and Iraq.
"If you see 50 women, children being slaughtered, what is the first thing you are going to do? You are going to tell somebody, 'Look, let us go there and help them'. The minute you tell somebody to go and help them, whoa, you are recruiting terrorists," he said.
The trial was closely watched as Hamid was accused of inspiring the four July 21, 2005 bombers who attacked the London transportation system. Unlike the suicide bombers that struck two weeks prior, the July 21 extremists had problems with their detonators and their bombs did not explode.
Assistant Police Commissioner Peter Clarke says at that time, Hamid came under much closer scrutiny.
"It was in the wake of the attacks in 2005 that we focused even more tightly on this group and began to develop the evidence," he said. "And remember, in order to get the evidence we needed to put before the courts, we had to deploy an undercover officer to infiltrate this group and to gather this evidence at really close quarters. So, that is what we had to do and that is just how difficult it is to reach the required standard."
In addition to Hamid, seven others in his group have been found guilty of lesser charges in a series of linked trials that have been under a partial reporting black-out.
Sentencing will be announced at a later date.