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Blackburn terror suspect: I liked music on terror audio clips
AN ALLEGED terrorist said he downloaded pictures of extremists, including Osama Bin Laden, ‘out of curiosity’ and audio clips promoting terrorism only because ‘he liked the music’.
Abbas Iqbal, 24, of Percival Street, Blackburn, was arrested last summer when he was found carrying terrorism-related mater-ial on his phone and in his suitcase at Manchester Airport.
But he told Manchester Crown Court yesterday that possessing pictures of terrorists did not mean he supported their actions, or that he was planning to spread terrorist propaganda. He said: “To describe them as my idols is incorrect. Just having a picture of somebody doesn’t mean I idolise them, or look up to them.”
He said that, while he was travelling to northern Europe to teach the Arabic alphabet and to read the Koran, he did not understand audio files of Arabic speakers urging holy war.Commenting on one audio file belonging to Iqbal that featured a speaker telling women to wear explosive belts and commit Jihad, Judge Andrew Gilbart said: “You've told us you were very much opposed to the idea of suicide bombing. Why was that on your phone if you were very much opposed to the concepts of suicide bombing?”
Iqbal told the court: “I didn’t know. She was saying that in Arabic. I was shocked when I asked my lawyers for a translation. I liked the song that came after it.” However, Edward Brown, prosecuting, said: “He downloaded quite a lot of speech to obtain the music. Wouldn’t it have been easier to download just the music? If anybody heard it in northern Europe who understood Arabic they would say ‘Hang on, aren’t you here to preach peace?’”
He said he had kept a photo of the 911 disaster because it was ‘a very powerful image’. He claimed he had labelled a picture of a masked terrorist with a gun ‘me with gun’ possibly out of ‘vanity’. Iqbal and co-defendants Ilyas Iqbal, 23, also of Percival Street, and Muhammad Ali Ahmad, 26, of Whalley Range, are accused of preparing for acts of terrorism.