London police arrest 2 terror suspects
Earlier today, counterterrorism police made arrests at two separate east London addresses, detaining two unnamed male suspects, aged 32 and 18. A UK security official told The Associated Press, "This doesn't appear to be a big investigation, but it's still early days." Security in and around London has been stepped up over the past several months in anticipation of the Olympics, which open on July 27.
The AP report quotes Mizanur Rahman, 29, an acquaintance of the two suspects, as saying that the 18-year-old suspect goes by the name "Jamal ud-Din," and that the older man is called "Zakariya." Rahman also offers an explanation for the suspects' recent suspicious activities -- canoeing on the river that goes through the Olympics site, and shooting airguns at a nearby range -- as simply "people trying to get into the Olympic spirit" that would likely be "paint[ed] by the authorities as jihad training."
Rahman goes on to identify the man he calls Jamal ud-Din as the same man who appears in a YouTube video last year delivering an Islamic rant, according to AP.
Although the connection has not been confirmed, it is likely that the 29-year-old Mizanur Rahman quoted in today's article on the London terror arrests is the same person who was sentenced in 2007 to six years in jail for soliciting murder and stirring up racial hatred in connection with the Prophet Mohammed cartoon controversy. [See San Francisco Chronicle coverage of the trials: In Britain, getting tough with violence-inciting Muslim protesters.]
Another article, from the Daily Mail in 2008, notes that jailed 25-year-old Mizanur Rahman, a website designer, had managed to get over 900 emails posted on an Islamist website since his incarceration the year before for inciting murder.
Rahman's six-year sentence was subsequently reduced to four years, half of which consisted of house arrest. He was freed in 2010, and has continued to provide vocal support for Islamists in Britain. In this YouTube clip from 2011, he suavely presents his case [see below].
It is likely that today's arrests will lead to further investigations into London's jihadist community.