Bilal Zaheer Ahmad

Bilal Zaheer Ahmad is a British-Pakistani dual citizen and a convicted Islamist incarcerated in the United Kingdom. He is a former member of the now-defunct U.K.-based extremist group al-Muhajiroun, which was led by convicted ISIS supporter Anjem Choudary. Prior to his November 2010 arrest, Ahmad called for terrorist attacks on social media and was an active contributor to pro-jihad websites.Caroline Davies, “Radical Muslim jailed for calling for jihad against MPs,” Guardian (London), July 29, 2011, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/jul/29/radical-muslim-bilal-ahmad-jailed;
Raffaello Pantucci, “Anjem Choudary was a leader. His conviction will damage terror networks,” Guardian (London), August 17, 2016, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/aug/17/anjem-choudary-conviction-terror-networks.
Days before his arrest, Ahmad reportedly expressed his support on Facebook for Roshonara Choudhry, who stabbed Labor MP Stephen Timms in May 2010. Ahmad was sentenced to 12 years in prison in July 2011 for soliciting the murder of British MPs, among other terrorism-related charges.Caroline Davies, “Radical Muslim jailed for calling for jihad against MPs,” Guardian (London), July 29, 2011, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/jul/29/radical-muslim-bilal-ahmad-jailed.

As a teenager, Ahmad began associating with members of al-Muhajiroun because he felt excluded from society, according to his defense attorney.Caroline Davies, “Radical Muslim jailed for calling for jihad against MPs,” Guardian (London), July 29, 2011, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/jul/29/radical-muslim-bilal-ahmad-jailed;
Raffaello Pantucci, “Anjem Choudary was a leader. His conviction will damage terror networks,” Guardian (London), August 17, 2016, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/aug/17/anjem-choudary-conviction-terror-networks.
Ahmad reportedly graduated from the University of Central England with a degree in business information technology. He is then believed to have worked as a development analyst at a county hospital in Dorchester. Ahmad was largely self-radicalized online and, until his arrest, regularly contributed content to extremist websites including al-Muhajiroun’s web-based platform Islam4UK, the radical forum IslamicAwakening, and Revolutionmuslim.com.Caroline Davies, “Radical Muslim jailed for calling for jihad against MPs,” Guardian (London), July 29, 2011, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/jul/29/radical-muslim-bilal-ahmad-jailed;
“What is Islam4UK?,” Telegraph (London), January 4, 2010, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/defence/6931212/What-is-Islam4UK.html.
Revolution Muslim—a now-defunct U.S.-based Islamist group and website—was led by convicted Islamist extremist Jesse Morton.“Leader of Revolution Muslim Pleads Guilty to Using Internet to Solicit Murder and Encourage Violent Extremism,” FBI, February 9, 2012, https://archives.fbi.gov/archives/washingtondc/press-releases/2012/leader-of-revolution-muslim-pleads-guilty-to-using-internet-to-solicit-murder-and-encourage-violent-extremism. Morton was later arrested by the FBI and pled guilty in U.S. courts on February 9, 2012, for conspiring to solicit murder, making threatening communications, and using the Internet to place others in fear.“Leader of Revolution Muslims Pleads Guilty to Using Internet to Solicit Murder and Encourage Violent Extremism,” FBI, February 9, 2012, https://archives.fbi.gov/archives/washingtondc/press-releases/2012/leader-of-revolution-muslim-pleads-guilty-to-using-internet-to-solicit-murder-and-encourage-violent-extremism.

In November 2010, Ahmad posted to Revolutionmuslim.com a list of 383 British MPs who voted for the Iraq war. Ahmad reportedly called on Muslims to “raise the knife of Jihad” and kill them. According to the FBI, Jesse Morton provided Ahmad with a password to the website and permitted him to post content.Caroline Davies, “Radical Muslim jailed for calling for jihad against MPs,” Guardian (London), July 29, 2011, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/jul/29/radical-muslim-bilal-ahmad-jailed;
“Leader of Revolution Muslims Pleads Guilty to Using Internet to Solicit Murder and Encourage Violent Extremism,” FBI, February 9, 2012, https://archives.fbi.gov/archives/washingtondc/press-releases/2012/leader-of-revolution-muslim-pleads-guilty-to-using-internet-to-solicit-murder-and-encourage-violent-extremism.
In another post on Morton’s website, Ahmad reportedly referenced a May 2010 knife attack against Labor MP Stephen Timms by Roshonara Choudhry. In the post, he encouraged attackers to target MPs while they were having constituency surgery—or one-on-one meetings—as Choudhry had done with Timms. Ahmad further provided a link to an online knife vendor.Caroline Davies, “Radical Muslim jailed for calling for jihad against MPs,” Guardian (London), July 29, 2011, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/jul/29/radical-muslim-bilal-ahmad-jailed.

Ahmad was arrested in Dunstall, Wolverhampton, on November 10, 2010, and was charged with soliciting murder, publishing written material with intent to stir up religious hatred, and three counts of collecting information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism.Caroline Davies, “Radical Muslim jailed for calling for jihad against MPs,” Guardian (London), July 29, 2011, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/jul/29/radical-muslim-bilal-ahmad-jailed;
“Blogger who encouraged murder of MPs jailed,” BBC News, July 29, 2011, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-14344199.
Following Ahmad’s arrest, investigators discovered a video of Ahmad on Facebook in which he said, “My message to the West. You are all going to die.” His computer purportedly contained various extremist materials including an electronic copy of “39 Ways to Serve and Participate in Jihad,” “Zaad-e-Mujahid: Essential Provisions of a Mujahadid” and an issue of Inspire, al-Qaeda’s online English-language magazine.Caroline Davies, “Radical Muslim jailed for calling for jihad against MPs,” Guardian (London), July 29, 2011, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/jul/29/radical-muslim-bilal-ahmad-jailed;
“Blogger who encouraged murder of MPs jailed,” BBC News, July 29, 2011, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-14344199.
Authorities sentenced Ahmad to 12 years in prison on July 29, 2011.Caroline Davies, “Radical Muslim jailed for calling for jihad against MPs,” Guardian (London), July 29, 2011, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/jul/29/radical-muslim-bilal-ahmad-jailed.

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