Community leader says explosives were planted after he refused to become MI5 spy

Khalid Rashad

A Muslim community leader from north London who has been accused of possessing a stick of plastic explosives in his back garden told jurors how the MI5 tried to recruit him as a “secret agent”.

Khalid Rashad, 63, is on trial at the Old Bailey on charges of having about 8oz (226g) of explosives, a 9mm cartridge and five 8mm rounds.

Police discovered the explosives during a search of Mr Rashad’s terraced home and outbuilding in Wembley, north London, last April.

Mr Rashad has strongly denied any wrongdoing and stated that someone else must have put them in the garage that he had built in his garden.

During the hearing, Mr Rashad told jurors that he was Jamaican and had changed his name when he converted to Islam in 1993, before going on to become a leading figure at the An-Noor Cultural and Community Centre in Acton, West London.

In 2012, he said he was contacted by MI5 agents who invited him “to become an operative – a spy.”

As “a leader in the Islamic community in west London” he said, they wanted “to have someone like me in charge of the books.” But he refused their offer.

When asked if he thought the security services were connected with the explosives in his garage, he said: “At the end of the day I cannot say I have because I have not seen anyone who put this thing there so I cannot point the finger and say I believe it’s them.”

The trial is still ongoing.

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