Babar Ahmad: My support for the Taliban was naive


A British man who was imprisoned in the United States for supporting the Taliban online has told young Muslims not to be bullied into joining Islamic State.

Babar Ahmad, 41, was jailed after pleading guilty to conspiracy and providing material to support terrorism after his websites encouraged readers to raise money, recruit fighters and get supplies for the Taliban.

In an interview with the BBC he said his support for the Taliban had been "naive".

He said: "I did it in good faith but, in hindsight, I regret doing that and it was naive of me to do that, because it was a complicated situation.

"And whatever was going on then, I didn't have to advocate support for them."

In July last year, Mr Ahmad returned to the UK having been extradited to the US on October 5, 2012.

He had fought extradition for eight years and was sentenced to 12-and-a-half years in prison by a US judge, taking into account the time he served in the UK.

The former computer expert from south London called the actions of Islamic State "alien" and said that it was not "jihad" which he described as being designed to protect innocent people from terror.

He urged young Muslims not to become pawns and said: "Don't let anyone bully you, that the only way to paradise is by bringing misery upon innocent people who have done nothing to you."

In March 2009, Scotland Yard admitted that Mr Ahmad was subjected to violent assaults and religious abuse when he was first arrested in 2003 and agreed to pay him £60,000 in damages after he brought a personal injury case at the High Court.

But the four policemen who were charged with beating him up were cleared by a jury in 2011 after a month-long trial.