“One of the world’s most-wanted terror suspects visited Scotland to urge Muslims to become jihadis years before 9/11, a BBC investigation says.
The Radio Four documentary, The Dawn of British Jihad, discovered that Hafiz Saeed toured British mosques in 1995.
In August that year, in Glasgow, Saeed said that when Muslims had the spirit of jihad they had ruled the whole world but today they were being humiliated.
Saeed is wanted for allegedly organising the Mumbai attacks in 2008.
He has always denied involvement in the attacks, which killed 166 people.
The BBC documentary, to be broadcast on Tuesday night, sets out to examine the idea that radicalisation of British Muslims started well before the 9/11 bombings.
Sajid Iqbal, one of the programme’s producers, told BBC Scotland he spoke to people who were active in the 1980s and 1990s, “much earlier than commonly thought”.
“These were different times. At that time, the theatres of Jihad were Bosnia and Afghanistan, where there was some sort of common cause,” he said.
‘Spirit of Jihad’
Hafiz Saeed’s tour of Britain in 1995 was recorded in a magazine published by a militant group called Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) – a Pakistani-Kashmiri Jihadi group.
The articles, written in Urdu and uncovered by the BBC investigation, were written by the Iman of a mosque in Oldham who accompanied Saeed.
Mr Iqbal said: “There is non-stop talk about Jihad, encouraging British Muslims to join him.”
In Glasgow, Saeed addressed a large gathering at Glasgow’s Central Mosque.
He claimed Zionists were using billions of dollars to kill the spirit of Jihad – or Holy War – among Muslims.
“They are trying to entice Muslims to the politics of power through democracy,” he said.
“They are also using the interest-based economy to keep Muslims in debt.”
The documentary’s producer said he was surprised that Glasgow Central Mosque opened its doors to a known militant because it is run by Deobandi, a different denomination of British Muslims to Saeed’s Ahl-e-Hadith community.
He said: “Even in 1995, he was a known militant, active in Kashmir.”
Glasgow Central Mosque has not commented on the claims.
During the tour, Saeed also spoke in Birmingham where he urged his audience “Let’s all rise up for jihad” and denounced “Hindu dogs”.
In Leicester, he spoke at a conference attended by 4,000 young people.
His address was reported to have “infused a new spirit in the youth”.
The article said “hundreds of young men expressed intention to get jihad training”.
In March 2001, Lashkar-E-Taiba, the Kashmiri militant group, promoted by Hafiz Saeed on his tour of Britain, was proscribed a terrorist organisation by the Home Office.
In September that year New York and Washington came under attack by Al Qaeda.
In 2008 Lashkar-e-Taiba made its mark in the global jihad with a deadly wave of attacks across the Indian city of Mumbai.
Lashkar-e-Taiba’s founder and leader Hafiz Saeed, who toured British mosques in the 1990s is now one of the world’s most-wanted terrorists – though he has never faced trial for the Mumbai attacks and was recently released from house arrest by the Pakistani government.”