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Thread: Defendants "Attracted To Islam"

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2005

    Defendants "Attracted To Islam"

    Defendants 'attracted to Islam'

    By Chris Summers
    BBC News, Woolwich Crown Court

    The 21 July bomb plot trial has heard from a former school friend of two of the defendants about how they first became interested in Islam.

    Stephen Bentley went to school with Adel Yahya and also befriended Yassin Omar, who attended a different school.

    Mr Bentley, a 26-year-old data analyst, said he had known both men since the age of 13.

    He said they had shared a love of football and computer games.

    Asked by Max Hill, prosecuting, what Mr Yahya was like as a youngster he said: "He was a very friendly guy, very into football, Arsenal fan. Very into computer games, boys' stuff, you know."

    Mr Bentley, who was brought up in a Christian family, said after leaving school in north London he went to university and only came back to see his friends in the summer holidays.

    He said both had become very interested in Islam and he said they had talked to him about the religion and even persuaded him to convert.

    Later, under cross examination, Mr Bentley was asked what attracted him to Islam. He said: "It seemed to have a lot of the answers to life's questions."

    Mr Bentley said Mr Omar began wearing a robe and a hat, rather than western clothing.

    He was asked what views Mr Omar had about world affairs.

    "He said about the Taleban establishing an Islamic state in Afghanistan. He believed an Islamic state would be a good thing so it seemed that he supported them."

    Mr Bentley said Mr Omar, who was Somali but lived with British foster parents, also supported the Palestinian cause.

    He said Mr Omar and Mr Yahya often went to the Finsbury Park mosque to hear the radical preacher Abu Hamza.

    Mr Bentley was asked about Mr Omar's views about 9/11.

    "He said he didn't think it was done by Osama Bin Laden," he said.

    Mr Hill asked him what had led Mr Omar to take that view.

    "He said Abu Hamza said it wasn't and Abu Hamza knew Osama Bin Laden
    ," he replied.

    He was asked if Mr Omar had any views about the British government at the time.

    He replied: "Nothing specific but I suppose that he had a feeling the government in this country was too much on the side of the American government."

    Mr Bentley also said that Mr Yahya made it clear he did not trust the British media to report world affairs accurately.

    Mr Bentley said he returned to university in October 2001 and lost contact with Mr Omar and Mr Yahya.

    He said he contacted police shortly after 21 July 2005 because he recognised the name Yassin Omar.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2005


    CONTROVERSIAL Islamic preacher Abu Hamza told one of the alleged 21/7 bomb plotters that terror leader Osama bin Laden was not behind the 9/11 attacks, a court was told today.

    A school friend of Yassin Omar's told the trial of the six alleged plotters that hook-handed Hamza had said he knew the al Qaida chief.

    Data analyst Steven Bentley told the court that Omar - who he had known since the age of 13, and who played a key role in his own conversion to Islam - had seemed supportive of the Taliban's regime in Afghanistan.

    He, Omar and another of the alleged bomb plotters, Adel Yahya, had attended hamza's sermons at Finsbury park mosque, he told the court, along with mosques at Edmonton and Regent's Park.

    And when asked about Omar's views on the 9/11 terror attacks on the USA, he said: "He did say that he did not think it was done by Osama bin Laden.

    "If I recall correctly he said Abu Hamza said that it was not, that Abu Hamza knew Osama bin Laden."

    He told the court that Omar had discussed Islamic states abroad, including those in Afghanistan and Palestine, telling the jurors: "He said about the Taliban establishing an Islamic state in Afghanistan."
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

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