Mohammed Gul and Terrorist Propaganda

Although I don’t comment very often on Islamism on Harry’s Place, that’s usually because I agree with the posts – and disagree with those who attack Harry’s Place as ‘Islamophobic’.

So I hope (though without boundless hope) that commenters won’t take it in the wrong way if I venture to suggest that there could be some grounds for thinking the five year sentence given to Mohammed Gul, a case discussed already in this post, seemed quite tough, given that similar sentences are meted out to rapists.

He had allegedly used clips from al-Qa’ida, the Taliban and Iraqi media sites and added jihadi songs.

One showed an image of Osama bin Laden along with words of a poem which praised him.

Other sections showed the bodies of children and images of conflict including a coalition jeep being blown up, the court heard.

Mr Larkin said: “We suggest Mr Gul became more and more involved in extreme views.

“He spent more and more time in internet forums and chatrooms with people who expressed extreme views.

“He asked for footage showing sniper attacks, vehicle explosions and other terrorist attacks in places of conflict.

“He became more and more radicalised. He decided to make these videos and upload them.

The judge spoke of the need to issue a deterrent sentence and said that Gul was ‘pouring petrol on the fire’.  The same is potentially true of a good many things though.   It is not quite clear to me whether Gul was actively or only indirectly inciting terrorism, and (if the latter) what penalties should be in place for reposting material which was, at least in most cases I assume, already in the public domain.   This discussion on an Irish discussion board raised some interesting questions and parallels.

I’m very receptive to other perspectives on this, and particularly to new information about the charges (the case has been surprisingly little discussed).  I’m not suggesting what he did was excusable, or should be ignored, only that the length of the sentence at least invites discussion about how to define and evaluate crimes relating to the dissemination of terrorist propaganda.

Sarah AB adds – this additional report is obviously highly significant and seems to put the sentence (if based partly on this additional information) into perspective.

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