Munir Farooqi of Manchester was convicted of preparing terror acts, soliciting to murder and disseminating terrorist literature in 2011. He had aimed to recruit men for jihad in Afghanistan, where he claimed he had joined the Taliban in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. He was given four life sentences.
At the sentencing hearing, the judge called Munir Farooqi “a very dangerous man, an extremist, a fundamentalist with a determination to fight abroad” whose jihadi recruitment operation was “sophisticated, ruthless and well honed”, with “allied forces, including British soldiers” as the targets.
A report on the conviction by the Manchester Evening News provided further details. It said the police believed Munir Farooqi may have recruited as many as 23 men for jihad, using his “charm” at his Islamic bookstall in Longsight to attract them and then taking them to his home, where he had “huge quantities of jihadist propaganda, including 50,000 DVDs, CDs, leaflets and books”. Munir Farooqi called fighting coalition forces in Afghanistan “fun” and “rejoiced” when television reports showed the coffins of British soldiers killed in Afghanistan being brought home.
The newspaper added that Tony Porter, the head of the North West anti-terror unit, called Munir Farooqi “uncompromising, pernicious and evil” and said he was “up there with the most insidious terrorists in the north west and possibly the UK”. He “glamorises the battlefield and extreme violence”, Tony Porter added, as a “manipulative and an extremely dangerous individual targeting the most vulnerable of society in Manchester in perhaps the most deprived areas of the city”.
Munir Farooqi appealed his conviction and his sentence. He lost both challenges in 2013.
In this clearly alarming case, CAGE found outrage, even after the conviction. In 2015, it staged an event in Manchester for Munir Farooqi titled “Innocent victim of a miscarriage of justice” [archived here]. It called him “a celebrated and respected member of the local community in Manchester”, now in prison “for crimes he never committed”.
In a post in 2014 [archived here], CAGE hailed Munir Farooqi as “a well-respected man in his community” who called people to “see the true image of Islam” from his bookstall in Longsight. Police officers were targeting individuals who were simply “steadfast in their religion”, the group asserted.