7 Jun 2013

Six Muslims to be sentenced over EDL attack

A judge is to study a collection of rallies by the English Defence League before deciding on jail terms for six men who planned an attack on the right-wing group.

They spent at least eight weeks planning a potential deadly attack on an EDL rally in Dewsbury last year, writes Channel 4 News Home Affairs Correspondent Simon Israel.

The prosecution on Thursday stressed that this was not amateurish plot.

They had watched dozens of YouTube videos of EDL rallies in preparation. They had gone on reconnaissance. They had listened to rousing Anwar al-Awlaki sermons about retaliation on the car DVD player. They were armed with swords, knives, machetes and sawn off shotguns.

When they pleaded guilty in April, the authorities were anxious to play down any talk of an impending war.

Today there is a different view.

Two events have radically altered the temperature.

The first was the killing of Drummer Lee Rigby, the second was the torching of an Islamic centre in North London where ‘EDL’ has been daubed on a wall.

Everyone is bunkering down.

CCTV video played in court yesterday of the plotting Islamists at a gym in Birmingham, and of them leaving a mosque in Dewsbury, would in the normal process have been released to us – the media.

But it is not because police have been asked by both organisations to in effect erase them from the case. The mosque fears reprisals. So, I infer, does the gym.

The EDL is promising to be there in force outside the Old Bailey on Monday when the sentences are handed down.

It is relishing the chance of playing the victim. But who is really running scared – and what does this mean for the summer ahead?