Hassan Butt: I’m a professional liar

Al-Qaida fantasist tells court: I’m a professional liar (Guardian website)

The Guardian reports on the most egregious of the “ex-extremist” fraternity, who, when the story about having actually been a terrorist got too hot to handle, admitted that he’d made it all up, complete with the stabbing he said he’d got off an extremist in Manchester but was actually self-inflicted:

In 2007 he wrote he had left the “British jihadi network” of which he claimed the 7/7 London bomber Mohammad Sidique Khan was a member — someone he said he had met on two occasions.

He went on to hold talks with former security minister Tony McNulty who Butt said “absolutely loved” his ideas on reforming radicals.

He confessed he had also stabbed himself in the arm to make it appear as if he had been attacked by extremists for speaking out against violence.

Speaking of Malik [Shiv Malik, who had been writing a book with Butt entitled Leaving al-Qaeda], Butt told the jury: “I guess he wanted to make his career out of the back of my story. Many people were making a career out of being former radicals. I had to take it one step further and actually say I was a terrorist, which wasn’t true.

“At no point have I ever been training, have I ever been a jihadi. Yes, I did study their theology. Yes, I did study their ideas because that then came into part of how to actually counter this. And that changed to a fact of, well we need to keep as many young Muslims away from these people. And in order to do that I needed to understand the mindset in the first place.”

After terrorists struck London in 2005, Butt renounced his previous talk of violence and set himself up as an expert in countering al-Qaida. Moderate Muslim groups he had previously branded as sell outs, such as the Muslim council of Britain, he decided to label as extremists.

Butt, 28, of Cheetham Hill, Manchester, has been arrested on five occasions by counter-terrorism officers — November 2002, November 2003, December 2004, October 2007 and May 2008. Each time he was released without charge.

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