London: Three Pakistani-origin Muslims accused of plotting to carry out a beheading in Britain were inspired by a fatwa issued by the Islamic State, a UK court was told on Monday as they went on trial.
London-based Nadir Ali Syed, Yousaf Shah Syed, and Haseeb Hamayoon, all in their twenties, deny charges of preparing an act of terrorism using knives.
The plot was targeted at Remembrance Sunday events in November 2014, held across Britain and Northern Ireland every year to mark contributions of British and Commonwealth soldiers in the two World Wars.
"All three defendants were demonstrating their support for ISIS and acts of terrorism in general, and were interested in knives and killings by beheading.
"All three were ready, we say, for the important Islamic State fatwa exhorting and encouraging such murders," the prosecution claimed as the terror trial opened at Woolwich Crown Court today.
Hamayoon is a Pakistani passport holder who lives in south London and the Syeds are cousins who were born in Britain.
The prosecution alleges they were inspired by the "truly chilling" ISIS decree to kill westerners.
"It urged followers to rise up against westerners and 'rig the roads with explosives for them. Attack their bases. Raid their homes. Cut off their heads'," Prosecutor Max Hill said in reference to the fatwa issued by ISIS spokesperson Abu Muhammad Al Adnani.
Jurors were told the three men had been inspired by Michael Adebowale and Michael Adebolajo, who hacked British soldier Fusilier Lee Rigby to death near Woolwich barracks in south London in May, 2013.
They had even kept photos of the killers on their phones.
The two accused cousins had tried to catch flights to Turkey early last year, planning on heading to Syria.
Nadir was stopped from boarding because he was on bail for a public order offence, while Yousaf went no further than Turkey.
But a third traveller, Luqman Warsame, made it to Syria where he fought for ISIS and continued to communicate with the cousins back in Britain, the court was told.