STRUGGLING for that last-minute Christmas present this year, many Scots will have succumbed to the tempting offer in the pub or work canteen of a cheap DVD of the latest Hollywood blockbuster. A useful stocking filler, thank you very much. It might be an illegal knock-off, but really, what's the harm?
That question has a chilling answer. Anyone who handed over their fiver may inadvertently have been funding a organisation responsible for dozens of killings, bombings and political assassinations, thousands of miles away in Indian-controlled Kashmir.
The sale of fake CDs, DVDs, clothing and perfumes in Glasgow and other British cities is helping to raise money for one of the world's most-notorious terror outfits – the group held responsible for the slaughter of US journalist Daniel Pearl in 2002.
MI5 is now targeting British-based supporters of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), a pro-Kashmiri group dedicated to gaining the disputed territory its independence. Its aims include the "destruction" of the United States and India.
MI5 estimates that there are about 50 hardcore JeM sympathisers living in Scotland, responsible for shipping half a million pounds abroad every year to fund the militants' murderous activities halfway across the world.
News that JeM is operating here follows closely on other disturbing revelations about terrorist-linked activity within Scotland. In September, Mohammed Atif Siddique, from Alva, Clackmannanshire – described as al-Qaeda's man in Scotland – was convicted of creating websites that taught bomb-making. In the summer, there was the failed car bombing attempt on Glasgow Airport, and only last month came the revelation from senior Scottish police officers that 200 Islamic terror suspects are currently under surveillance.
Up until now, the UK Government may have been content to look away from JeM's British-based supporters backing a group whose offences occurred thousands of miles away.
One security source said: "I do not think it is completely true to say we deliberately took our eye off the ball because JeM's activities were not hurting our own interests. It was a case that we could not be everywhere at once and we needed to prioritise. However, the news of a link with al-Qaeda would appear to indicate that things have taken a very dramatic turn for the worse."
The Kashmiri community in Scotland is well-established, having first settled here two generations ago. Although not as big as either the Indian or Pakistani communities it is still a substantial presence, numbering thousands, most of them living in Glasgow.