Hege Storhaug, HRS
28 år gamle Samantha Lewthwaite, mor til tre barn, er Storbritannias mest ettersøkte kvinne per i dag. Da ektemannen Jermaine Lindsay tok med seg 26 personer i døden 7.juli 2005, tok hun skarpt avstand til handlingen, for deretter å forsvinne. Familien hennes skal ikke ha hatt noe kontakt med henne i disse syv årene som er gått siden London ble rammet av terror. Sammen med kenyansk politi jakter nå britisk politi og etterretning på den britiske konvertitten i Kenya. Det er funnet både eksplosiver og håndskrevne notater i boliger politiet mener hun og barna har oppholdt seg i. Notatene er del av et manus som er tenkt å inspirere andre til å ofre livet for islam, og det oppstod på bakgrunn av at hennes egne barn skal ha blitt inspirert av Lewthwaites nåværende ektemanns terrorideologi, Saleh Ghani. Barna sier de ønsker å bli «Mujahid».
The British widow of a 7/7 bomber who is being hunted by police in East Africa has revealed that she is raising her children to be Mujahideen terrorists.
In a chilling cache of handwritten notes found by police, Muslim convert Samantha Lewthwaite – nicknamed the White Widow – describes how her eldest son and daughter were asked what they wanted to be when they grew up.
The children, then aged eight and five, both said last year that they wished to be holy warriors. Their answers inspired their mother to begin a book, a guide to Jihad, entitled I Want To Be A Mujahid.
It was their father and Lewthwaite’s first husband, Jermaine Lindsay, who carried out England’s worst terror atrocity. During the 7/7 bombings in 2005, he killed 26 people when he blew up a Piccadilly Line Tube train near King’s Cross.
Publicly at least, 28-year-old Lewthwaite, the youngest daughter of a British soldier who grew up in the Home Counties, denounced her husband. Then she disappeared.
Nothing was known of her whereabouts until earlier this year when it emerged that she had gone on the run after police foiled a plot to blow up Western tourist targets in Kenya. Last month it was revealed she is the prime suspect for a grenade attack on a Kenyan bar packed with tourists watching the Euro 2012 match between England and Italy. A boy was among the three dead.
Lewthwaite is believed to be in hiding with her second husband, British terror suspect Habib Saleh Ghani, who calls himself ‘Osama’ and is described by police as ‘extremely dangerous’.
When she made her ‘dua’ – a prayer to Allah for a suitable marriage – Lewthwaite writes that she asked for a man who would ‘go forth and give all he could for Allah and live a life of terrorising the disbelievers as they have us. This is what I wanted and Allah gave me this and better’.
Copies of the notes, which Kenyan police believe were written by Lewthwaite and form the synopsis of her book, were found at the last house she rented in the Kenyan city of Mombasa. The notes, which have been obtained by The Mail on Sunday, are included in a Metropolitan Police file on the case. Last week, officers from Scotland Yard’s Counter Terrorism Command flew to Kenya to assist in the hunt. In the papers, Lewthwaite writes: ‘It is not enough to say that I want to be a Mujahid yet live your life as a Mujrim [non-Muslim].
‘Only once we know how a Mujahid lives his life, spends his day and night, can we strive to be a Mujahid. I have for many years now wanted to write something that would benefit my brothers and sisters. A message of hope, encouragement and light in an era when many are still in darkness.’
Apparently, she felt she lacked knowledge or was not practising the life of a Mujahid completely, so abandoned the project.
But when she heard Ghani ‘my beloved husband’ talking to her children, she decided to continue. She writes: ‘He gave a talk to my eight-year-old son and five-year-old daughter. He asked them what do you want to be when you are older? Both had many answers but both agreed to wanting to be a Mujahid.
‘He asked them how did they plan to achieve such a goal and what really is a Mujahid? What makes someone a Mujahid? These are answers that only those who have been living the path of Jihad would know.’
She adds: ‘It was my husband’s talk to the kids and then reading A Woman’s Role In Jihad [a treatise believed by Muslims to have been written by Fatimah, Muhammad’s daughter, exhorting women to be faithful, considerate wives and to abhor cosmetics and indecent clothing] that made it clear it was time to put pen to paper and share with others what I was blessed with.’
Lewthwaite, from Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, first emerged as a terrorist suspect earlier this year when she was named by Kenyan police as part of an al-Shabaab cell planning attacks in Mombasa.
Chemicals, batteries, electric wiring and detonators had been stockpiled in several houses in the rundown Bakarani suburb. Lewthwaite’s alleged associate, London-born Jermaine Grant, was arrested with three Kenyans, but she and Ghani fled before police arrived with arrest warrants.
Grant, whose trial starts on August 15, is charged with possessing explosive material and conspiring to carry out bomb attacks.
After condemning her first husband in the aftermath of the 7/7 attacks, Lewthwaite was given police protection for herself and their two children.
She disappeared for several years, only to emerge in East Africa where police believe she has acted as ‘bagman’ and fundraiser for al-Shabaab cells originating in Somalia.
She is believed to have married Ghani in a Muslim ceremony in their rented house in Mombasa, and they have a girl aged three.
She converted to Islam in her teens, when her parents were getting a divorce, and has worn the full hijab black robes ever since. Upset by her parents’ split, Lewthwaite spent time with Muslim neighbours and reportedly found comfort in their family life.
Later she dropped out of her degree course at London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, having met Lindsay. He was 19 when he carried out the 7/7 attack.
Never under suspicion herself, Lewthwaite is believed to have been able to travel regularly to Somalia, where she allegedly became the banker for al-Shabaab. She was befriended by jihadists and became close to London-born Ghani, already on a police wanted list as an al-Shabaab recruit. In the cache of notes, she tells how Ghani was injured before they were married. Police believe he was hurt while carrying out terrorist activities.
She writes: ‘Once I learn of his injuries it only made my decision easier. Having lived a comfortable lifestyle in the West, when he told me that choosing to marry him may mean living under a tree, not knowing reality, I agreed. This path is all I ever wanted.
‘Until today, praise to Allah, I have not yet lived under a tree but the path we choose has its own tests and it can only be through knowledge and a strong resolve that can keep us steadfast.’ She tells of how her Muslim ‘sisters’ have been blessed to know suffering, with their husbands experiencing long jail sentences. ‘Other sisters have been blessed to be those whose husbands gained Shahadah [martyrdom].
‘Each has his own tests but it is our duty as women to remain steadfast and support our men. We will be sinful if we hinder them from Allah’s work.’ She describes how her husband has left her on many occasions ‘to go out for Allah’s cause’.
‘Then there are times you don’t receive news of him for several weeks,’ she writes. ‘The not knowing if he is alive . . . is enough to lose appetite and sleep.
‘But during those times I felt how can I eat if I don’t know where he is and how can I sleep when bombs are dropping on his head? But when he is home I sleep safely, eat well.’
Lewthwaite’s synopsis comprises seven chapters, including Guidance To Jihad/Islam; How We Spend Our Time; and Life As A Stranger, in which Lewthwaite plans to describe what it means to be among your own family and friends, when even your own parents cannot know you are a Mujahid. Other chapter titles include: Miracles On This Path and Stories of Shahadah; Advice For Those Lagging Behind; Your Reasons For Fighting; and A Woman’s Perspective, advice and stories from the wives, mothers, sisters and daughters of the Mujahadin.
Lewthwaite and Ghani, on the run with their three children, have been the subject of three reported sightings in the past year. They went twice through the road border between Tanzania and Kenya, before escaping the police dragnet in Mombasa earlier this year.
There, Lewthwaite was questioned by police at a house associated with Jermaine Grant in the Bakarani area, where she showed them false passports for herself and her children. When police returned with an arrest warrant she had left, taking a bag stuffed with cash.
At the family home in Aylesbury, her brother Allan, 32, said yesterday: ‘It’s difficult to say whether it’s her handwriting. It’s been so long since I’ve seen it. It’s not the way I remember her speaking. This is so rambling, a lot of it doesn’t make any sense.’