Richard Kerbaj, Dominic Kennedy, Richard Owen and Graham Keeley
October 17, 2008
For some, the internet is merely a hiding place — a web of secret corridors where all manner of shameful deeds unfold. But the police never expected that it might become a strategic platform where two groups of society’s outcasts, terrorists and child sex abusers, could meet to exchange operational secrets.
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
The realisation that there might be something in common between violent Muslim fanatics known for their supposed piety and sexual deviants who prey on children has only slowly dawned on officers. Cracking the mystery of how these worlds overlap is expected to improve understanding of the mindsets of both types of criminals and has been hailed as a potentially vital intelligence tool to undermine future terrorist plots. “A way of finding who the extremists and terrorists are”, an anti-terror source said, “is to go through the child-porn sites.”
The link might have remained unknown but for the case of a Muslim preacher from the East End of London who in 2006 was being investigated by police over his suspected links to a jihadi terrorist gunrunner.
To Scotland Yard’s surprise, the 26-year-old Abdul Makim Khalisadar, a former primary school assistant, was discovered to be downloading considerable quantities of child pornography. A DNA test showed he was the wanted “Whitechapel Rapist” who had violently attacked a woman in the street a year earlier. He was jailed for ten years for rape and perverting justice. Khalisadar, who has never been convicted of terrorist offences, and some friends concocted a false alibi that he was preaching at the East London Mosque when the attack happened. He was accused of possessing photographs of child sex abuse but these 11 charges were allowed to lie on file.