Islamic extremist group in Cardiff tried to radicalise young Muslim

A group of Islamic extremists in Cardiff has been involved in trying to radicalise a young Muslim, a BBC Wales investigation has revealed.

For months, an undercover reporter for the Week In Week Out programme has been meeting with a member of a group called Supporters of Tawheed.

A man called Rofi attempted to radicalise the undercover reporter by directing him to extremist websites and videos that preach hate.

He denied radicalising the reporter.

The reporter said: "Going undercover has opened my eyes to their world and how dangerous it could be.

"It's only when someone starts trying to radicalise you that you realise what it could lead to.

"And what really scares me is how they are influencing others with that hatred and disaffection."

The programme spoke to Alex Meleagrou-Hitchins, an expert in radicalisation from Kings College in London, and discusses the process the undercover reporter went through in his meetings with Rofi.

"This is a very clear cut radicalisation and recruitment case," said Mr Meleagrou-Hitchens.

Cardiff has been shocked by a number of incidents in the last 12 months involving Islamic extremists.

In October 2011, two teenagers were arrested by Kenyan police near the border with Somalia.

It is alleged they were trying to fight with Islamic militants, al-Shabab.

Then in January this year, anti-extremism police disrupted a meeting of Supporters of Tawheed at a Cardiff community centre.

Vulnerable people

Image caption Supporters of Tawheed member Rofi (pictured) denies trying to radicalise the undercover reporter

And in February, two men from Cardiff received lengthy jail sentences for plotting to blow up the London Stock Exchange.

Week In Week Out has seen a confidential police report which warns of vulnerable people being targeted by a group of Islamic extremists led by a Cardiff postman, Sajid Idris. Today, that group is called Supporters of Tawheed.

The Home Office has also recognised the threat of extremism and radicalisation in the city, and designated it a high priority.

Supporters of Tawheed want Sharia Law, determined by the Koran. They are opposed to democracy and freedom and they believe that Islam will dominate the world.

Mr Meleagrou-Hitchens said: "They've taken their cue from al-Qaeda. They use the same sources, they use the same religious interpretations.

"The only real core difference is that al-Qaeda is very, very focused on promoting and organising terrorism acts on the West.

"The group we are currently talking about, for its own survival, has to avoid doing that because they won't be able to operate otherwise."

There are also concerns about Supporters of Tawheed from within the 30,000-strong Muslim community in Cardiff.

Every mosque in the city has banned the group from handing out leaflets or holding meetings.

Saleem Kidwai, from the Muslim Council of Wales, said: "The Islam they were teaching is quite different to what real Islam is.

"There are people who are very naive... who could fall into the clutches of these individuals. That is why the community is concerned."

Counter-terrorism laws

Week In Week Out also showed some of its evidence to Lord Carlile QC, the government's former advisor on terrorism legislation.

Image caption A police report warns of vulnerable people being targeted by a group led by Sajid Idris

He felt that some of the group's videos, and public declarations, could have broken the law.

"There is a real possibility that counter-terrorism laws are being breached by the glorification of the actions of those that have been found to be terrorists," he said.

Rofi denies radicalising the undercover reporter.

He told the programme: "I preach Islam the way it's supposed to be preached."

Sajid Idris says he is not involved in any radicalisation, and denies any criminality involving himself or his group.

South Wales Police confirmed they were concerned about the activities of "a very small number of people", but were able to take action with the support of the Muslim community.

Week In Week Out: BBC1 Wales Tuesday, 22:35 BST. The programme will also be available on BBC iPlayer.

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