Written by Student Rights on 25 October 2013 at 11am

Campaign for convicted terrorist targets students

Material in support of convicted British terrorist Mohammed Hamid has recently appeared on a number of student social media pages as part of a campaign by his daughter against her father’s imprisonment.

Shared via Facebook with Islamic Societies at the universities of Bradford, Kingston and Hull, the ‘Free Mohammed Hamid campaign attempts to portray Hamid as a martyr to gross injustice; a gentle poet wrongly imprisoned by a racist, Islamophobic, British government.

Student Rights have seen Hamid promoted in this way once before, when the University of East London Islamic Society shared a poster declaring that Hamid had been imprisoned for “thought crime”.

Of course, this is simply not the case, with Hamid arrested after he had radicalised young men and urged them to attack non-believers.

Convicted in 2008 for soliciting to murder and providing training for terrorism through camps he organised in the British countryside, Hamid was recorded saying that the 52 people killed on 7/7 were “not even a breakfast for me”.

Described by the judge in his case as “...continu[ing] to be a danger...from your ability to persuade others by criminal actions to commit terrorism offences themselves”, Hamid was given an indeterminate sentence for public protection in 2008, the first time one had been used in a terrorism case.

In March 2009, he was refused permission to appeal his sentence, the Court of Appeal finding that the indefinite sentence he was given was appropriate given the danger he continued to pose.

This portrayal of a man who called himself “Osama Bin London” as a victim imprisoned “for the crimes of calling non-Muslims to Islam, playing paint-ball, and helping local communities” is deeply disingenuous, and highlights the way in which social media is used by extremists to target students.

It is also telling to see that Hamid’s list of supporters include campaigns backing Talha Ahsan, charged with providing material support to terrorists in the US, convicted murderer and former Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal, and calling for “a public inquiry into the events of 7 July 2005 in which the guilt of the four accused is not implicitly assumed”.

While there is no evidence to suggest that students have been taken in by this campaign, we hope that by providing this information, we can help universities and student societies identify any future attempts to gain support for convicted terrorists.