Cash donors 'duped in terror plot'

Banbury Cake: Three men accused of terrorism charges collected more than 12,000 pounds for a charity, a court has been told Three men accused of terrorism charges collected more than 12,000 pounds for a charity, a court has been told

Members of the public were duped into donating thousands of pounds to fund a massive suicide terror attack planned for Britain, a court has heard.

Irfan Naseer, 31, Irfan Khalid and Ashik Ali, both 27, were among a group of men who posed as collectors from the Muslim Aid (MA) charity, complete with T-shirts and hi-vis tabards, to carry out street collections and door-to-door pleas for cash in Birmingham and Leicester last year, their trial at Woolwich Crown Court heard.

But the charity received just a fraction of the Ramadan collection cash in August last year, with the vast majority being kept to finance the plot, the jury was told.

Notes found by police suggested that they collected £12,100 but the court was told they also lost £9,149.39 from their gains by using it to trade in foreign currency over four weeks.

The court previously heard that the men, two of whom are alleged to have received terror training in Pakistan, planned to detonate a series of suicide bombs in an attack that could have been bigger than the July 7 2005 atrocities.

The jury heard that Ali registered two accounts on eBay's online charity website "half in jest" in September 2006 with the user names "terrorshop" and "shopterror", using the email address be_terror@yahoo.co.uk.

Brian Altman QC, prosecuting, said that one of the accounts was closed down by eBay in October 2006. He added: "The second account remains active, but, like the first, has never been used. However, both reveal his mindset even then, even if the usernames he chose were registered half in jest."

He said the men wore MA T-shirts and tabards to "beguile the public into believing this was legitimate charity collecting, when it wasn't". "That money was stolen and ... was not intended by the defendants to be used for any other legitimate purpose other than terrorism," he said.

All the men are accused of engaging in conduct in preparation of terrorist acts, which they deny. Naseer is accused of five counts of the offence, Khalid four and Ali three, all between Christmas Day 2010 and September 19 last year.

For Naseer, from Sparkhill, Khalid, from Sparkbrook, and Ali, from Balsall Heath, all in Birmingham, this is alleged to have included planning a bombing campaign, collecting money for terrorism and recruiting others for terrorism. Naseer and Khalid are also accused of travelling to Pakistan for training in terrorism, and it is alleged that Naseer also helped others to travel to the country for the same purpose.

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