bilal muhammad

Bilal Muhammad

The timely arrest of Bilal Muhammad made it possible to halt his jihadist proselytizing and recruiting activities in Italy. According to the investigations that have been conducted, the young Pakistani citizen allegedly received military training in his country of origin and was dedicated to promoting violent jihadist narratives both through social networks and in person by moving across the Italian territory.
Bilal Muhammad is a Pakistani citizen who was born in 1990. When he decided to flee his country of origin he was already married and had a young son. He embarked from Libya, with other illegal migrants, towards Italy where he arrived in January 2014. After a very short period spent in a reception centre in Syracuse, Bilal was transferred to Piazza Armerina (EN) at the centre of initial reception “La Città del Sole”, where he was very quickly considered as a leader within the Pakistani community.
In the preparatory model for the investigation relating to the recognition of international protection, Bilal claimed to belong to the organization called Ale Sunnah Wal Jamaat, a military organisation believed to be close to al-Qa’ida and responsible for serious terrorist attacks in Pakistan.
After about a year, he began to move within the national territory rather intensely, finding support in the Pakistani communities of various cities. Initially, he moved to Cerro Maggiore (Milan, Italy), then to Lomazzo (Como, Italy). About two months later, he moved to Prato, always being received as a guest by Pakistani compatriots. After a month, he returned to Piazza Armerina where he lived in a special property for foreigners seeking international protection. During the following month, July 2015, he reached Prato again and finally, in September 2015, he went back to Lomazzo. During this time, Bilal weaved a dense network of relationships and used social networks both to proselytize and to maintain contacts with individuals linked in various ways to the extremist jihadist scene.
Bilal had two different Facebook profiles from which the investigators collected a large amount of material aimed at spreading jihadist propaganda, such as, for instance, a post referring to the terrorist attack that had recently occurred at the Charlie Hebdo headquarters in January 2015:
“In Paris, two mujahideen attacked the newspaper office where the cartoons mocking the prophet Mohammed were made and these two mujahideen sent the author of the cartoon mocking Mohammed to hell.”
There are also posts of the following tone, inciting the creation of a new group for terrorist purposes:
“Wake up mujahideen because you are divided into different groups. Create a group, if you want to be better make the switch. Reject the wrong things and accept the things said by the prophet Usman. You say you are Muslim, why are you afraid of non-Muslims? Either you don’t say you are a Muslim or you try to be interested in martyrdom.”
While Bilal appeared unscrupulous through the social media channels, he showed greater caution on phone calls and throughout his meetings and movements across Italy. During one of these phone calls, however, his interlocutor stated that he had also been militarily trained in Pakistan in the so-called “Gun and Jihad Factory”. Very worried about that conversation, Bilal tried to get the interlocutor to stop talking about such matters, considered as compromising and dangerous.
The request for political asylum was rejected by the Italian State and Bilal was arrested in Mantua in September 2015. In March 2017, he was sentenced to three years and two months of imprisonment for incitement to crime pursuant to art. 414 of the Italian penal code by the Court of Caltanissetta.