Accused terrorist denies Manchester Arena attack was real
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Hisham Muhammad, 25, allegedly hoarded an arsenal of weapons for a “lone wolf” attack, the Old Bailey was told.
The weapons, including a tomahawk, a machete and bear claws, were discovered at his rented terrace in Bury.
Mr Muhammad denies engaging in conduct in preparation for acts of terrorism.
The 25-year-old, of Victoria Avenue, Whitefield, told the court he had become interested in “researching” so-called Islamic State after the Manchester Arena attack.
“I wanted to find out the truth of what actually happened. I didn’t believe it had happened and people were saying yes it did,” said the father-of-two.
He said he watched “two different videos of what was happening and each person was saying something different”.
“I thought it was the Government trying to take away people’s rights,” he said.
When asked who he believed they were trying to target, he told the court: “Mainly Muslims.”
Mr Muhammad also claimed so-called Islamic State was “created by the American Government to take away the rights of Muslims”, and that technology could be used to make “anything look real”.
He also told jurors he liked to listen to Islamic music, and looked at a video entitled My Revenge “out of curiosity”.
When questioned on his views on radical Islam, he added: “It’s basically barbaric. I don’t think it’s right. Radical in terms of Islamic State, I don’t agree with it, killing of innocent people.”
Mr Muhammad told jurors that when he was not working at a chicken shop, he liked to “challenge” himself by designing things like a “coconut hammer”.
He denied he was planning to use any of the items at his home for terrorism but the Bermudan national admitted making £8,000 from a bogus online escort agency scam.
He said most of the money was sent overseas to his family.
His cousin Faisal Abu Ahmad, 24, of the same address, has pleaded not guilty to failing to alert authorities of the alleged attack plan.