LONDON, (Reuters) – A schoolboy, said by prosecutors to be the youngest Briton to be convicted of a terrorism offence, was jailed for two years on Friday for his part in what prosecutors called a worldwide plot to target non-Muslims.
Hammaad Munshi, 18, was found guilty last month of being part of a cell that spread extremist propaganda and provided practical guides on how to make poisons and suicide vests.
Detectives said Munshi, an IT expert who was just 16 when he was arrested at his home in Dewsbury, northern England, as he returned from school, was dedicated to al Qaeda’s cause. He used the Internet to circulate material including technical documents on how to make napalm and homemade explosives, and discussed how to smuggle a sword through airport security.
Al Qaeda propaganda promoting “murder and destruction” was stored on his computer and notes on martyrdom were hidden under his bed, London’s Old Bailey court heard.
The teenager, who was convicted of making a record of information likely to be useful in terrorism, was sentenced on Friday to two years in a young offenders’ institution.
Prosecutors said Munshi was part of a cell that provided information on terrorist techniques, training, weapons and explosives. The men were involved in a global conspiracy to “wipe out” non-Muslims, the court heard. They said his co-accused Aabid Hussain Khan had recruited Munshi when he was just 15.
Khan was jailed for 12 years last month while the cell’s other member Sultan Muhammad was given a 10-year term.
Judge Timothy Pontius said Munshi, the grandson of Islamic scholar Sheikh Yakub Munshi, president of the Islamic Research Institute of Great Britain at the Markazi Mosque in Dewsbury, had brought shame to his family and religion. However he had been given a lighter sentence because he had fallen “under the spell of fanatical extremists” who took advantage of his naivety.
But the judge added: “There is no doubt that you knew what you were doing.”