Islamic State supporters jailed for sending money for fighters

Two “committed” supporters of the so-called Islamic State group have been handed substantial jail sentences for sending thousands of pounds to help fighters in Iraq.

Ayub Nurhussein, 29, and Said Mohammed, 30, admitted funding terrorism by transferring £2,700 in three instalments via Denmark between April and July last year.

Chicken shop delivery worker Nurhussein, of Urlwin Road, south-west London, also pleaded guilty to four charges of having terrorist bomb-making manuals and three of sharing grisly IS propaganda by WhatsApp to his landlord.

He was handed an extended sentence of 13 years – nine and a half years in prison with a further three and a half-years on extended licence – for possessing the terror documents.

He was also jailed for seven years and three months for terror funding and four years and six months for the dissemination charges, with all the sentences to run concurrently.

Mohammed, from Longsight, Manchester, whose contact in Iraq was said to be connected with the IS hierarchy, was jailed for five years and three months.

The Old Bailey heard that both defendants were Eritreans who had sought asylum in Britain.

Nurhussein had succeeded but Mohammed, who came into Britain via a refugee camp in Calais in 2008, was refused leave to remain and lived in the UK illegally.

In 2012, Nurhussein was jailed for 42 months for robbery with an imitation handgun.

Prosecutor Alistair Richardson said the defendants became “deeply radical” and had supported IS in whatever ways they could.

He said: “They wished to travel to Islamic State territory to join them. From the United Kingdom, the two of them, together, offered their support financially.

“They arranged for the provision of, and provided funds for, their Mujahideen, or fighter, brothers, who remained in Iraq fighting for that organisation.”

The pair hatched a plan to send money, after Mohammed’s contact in Iraq, named only as Wassim, urged him to help raise funds from “brothers from abroad” to support IS efforts.

Wassim told him: “The situation is bad, my brother. The situation is bad at all levels in Iraq.

“If there are brothers… that would still give support, tell them this is a time of seriousness and this is a time when the Mujahideen (fighters) really need you.”

Mr Richardson said Wassim arranged for a go-between in Denmark to enable money to be sent to IS with “no problems”.

On April 20 last year, a transaction of £1,300 was made from an account in Manchester to a Western Union bank branch in Copenhagen.

A second transaction of £599.19 was made by Nurhussein on June 5 to the same bank.

On July 2 the process was repeated, with Nurhussein transferring £800 to the Danish bank.

Sentencing on Friday, Judge Rebecca Poulet QC said: “Based on all the material I have seen, I conclude that both men have deeply held radicalised beliefs and that they were and possibly still are committed to the cause of the proscribed organisation Islamic State.

“It is quite clear that both men were wholehearted supporters of this terrorist cause and that both wished the funds to go to support the fighters of that organisation.”

The “most grave and alarming” aspect of Nurhussein’s case was his possession of documents setting out how to make explosive devices, the judge said, adding: “This is particularly so when I view it in the context of his other activity and his beliefs.”

The IS propaganda videos he shared were professionally produced and showed the beheading and execution of enemies of IS, encouraging people to the terror group’s cause, she said.

The judge said Wassim appeared to be associated with “central figures” within IS and the money was intended to assist activities to endanger life.

Even though a psychologist had found Mohammed to be “easily compliant”, the judge found he was “committed to the cause of IS and seeking to widen the group of financial supporters for the organisation at the behest of his contact Wassim”.

Detective Superintendent Will Chatterton, head of investigations at Counter Terrorism Police North West, said: “Today’s result demonstrates the strength of being part of a Counter Terrorism network that spans the UK. The joint work during this investigation ensured a terrorist cell was disrupted and that those involved faced justice.”

Commander Richard Smith, head of the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command, said: “I am very pleased with today’s sentences.

“The Met works with other police forces and security services to provide a counter terrorism network, both at home and abroad, whose strength and effect is continually felt by those who conspire to commit acts of violence and terror.

“Today’s result was a direct consequence of that network. Working with our counter terrorism network colleagues in Manchester, we quickly identified the activity of these two individuals, who contrived to get money to Daesh, and have brought them to justice.”

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Categories: Ayub Nurhussein, counter-terrorism network, Islamic State, News, Said Mohammed

Coronavirus: Canterbury Mosque members donate 2,000 meals to key workers and raise £400 for PPE

Members of Canterbury Mosque in Kent have donated over 1,000 hot meals of fish and chips to health and social care key workers across Canterbury, Herne Bay, Faversham and Whitstable.

The meals were donated by Ossie’s Fish Bar, run by Ossie Ultan, and is a local favourite.

The mosque has also donated £400 to help a local crowdfund to give keyworkers 3D-printed PPE face shields achieve its funding goal as they battle the ongoing coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

NHS staff thank staff at Osse’s Fish Bar for their generous food donations. Credit: Canterbury Mosque.

Volunteers and committee members generously helped to feed staff at Sturry GP surgery, Ramsgate ambulance station, the Ambulatory Care Unit at Kent and Canterbury Hospital, Cross Lane medical practice, Pilgrims Hospice in Canterbury, Canterbury Health Centre, the Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service in Canterbury, the Newton Place Surgery in Faversham, and Whitstable and Tankerton Hospital.

Credit: Canterbury Mosque.

Staff at various supermarkets in the Whitstable received hot meals, as did council workers, JobCentre Plus staff, pharmacy workers, and Kent Police officers based in Canterbury.

Chair of Canterbury Mosque, Dr Mohamed Ali, informed Tell MAMA that, to date, they have raised and donated more than £5,000 to assist a range of local charities, including food banks, and helping the NHS in its Rapid access GP station at Kent University with volunteers and refreshments. A donation of £500 went to Canterbury Food Bank to help them with emergency food relief.

Ed Withers, who created the PPE crowdfunding page, said the large donation from the mosque on Facebook, that it has “really shown the spirit of Canterbury’s community.”

Dr Ali added that several of his committee members are on the frontlines battling the coronavirus pandemic in Canterbury Hospital and in local GP services. Others, he said, are helping to organise volunteers, fundraising, and providing essential spiritual leadership for Muslims across Canterbury.

Despite closing its doors before the lockdown announcement on March 23, the mosque continues to encourage its worshippers to donate to local and national coronavirus relief efforts, which includes the giving of zakat.

 

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Categories: Coronavirus, Kent, mosque, News, NHS

Women who ‘travelled to Syria to join IS’ fighting removal of UK citizenship

Two British-born women who allegedly travelled to Syria to join the so-called Islamic State group are mounting an appeal against the Government’s decision to revoke their citizenship.

The women – who are of British-Bangladeshi heritage, and known as C3 and C4 for legal reasons – are being held with their young children in “appalling conditions” in refugee camps in Syria.

C3 is in the al-Roj camp with her children, the youngest of whom is just two, while C4 is being held with her children in the al-Hawl camp, where conditions have been described by the International Committee of the Red Cross as “apocalyptic”.

Both women had their British citizenship revoked last November on the grounds of national security.

They are challenging that decision at the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC), a specialist tribunal which hears challenges to decisions to remove someone’s British citizenship on national security grounds.

Their lawyers say neither woman is entitled to Bangladeshi citizenship and the decision to remove their British citizenship was therefore unlawful as it rendered them “stateless”.

The court also heard that Shamima Begum – one of three east London schoolgirls who travelled to Syria to join IS in February 2015 – is set to have the latest round of her legal challenge to the decision to revoke her British citizenship heard by the High Court in June.

At a preliminary hearing conducted remotely on Monday, Dan Squires QC, representing C3 and C4, said the conditions in which they were being held were “horrendous”, with C4 held in “a camp for 5,000 people which is housing 74,000”.

He said the effect of the decision to deprive them of their British citizenship meant that, even if they were able to leave the camp with their children, they have “no country to return to”, leaving them both “essentially trapped”.

He said this meant both women faced “the awful choice of either remaining with their children or… sending their children back to England, not knowing when, or indeed whether, they will see them again”.

Mr Squires said their appeals needed to be determined as quickly as possible as, the longer the case took, “the greater the risk of serious and irremediable harm” to the women and their children.

In addition to challenging the decision on the grounds it made them stateless, C3 and C4 argue that Home Secretary Priti Patel failed to give due regard to the “equality implications” of how the decisions “might impact on Muslim communities”.

Mr Squires said in written submissions that the Home Office should disclose whether Ms Patel considered “whether her approach to deprivation has a disproportionate impact on Muslims and/or those of south Asian ethnic origin” and whether she considered “the impact on good relations in the UK between members of those groups and others caused by measures that are (or are perceived to be) used disproportionately on Muslims and/or those of south Asian ethnic origin”.

Mr Squires further argued on behalf of C4 that she was “the victim of trafficking when she travelled to Syria”, which he said also rendered the decision to deprive her of her British citizenship unlawful.

Lisa Giovannetti QC, for the Home Office, agreed that the issues of statelessness should be dealt with as a preliminary issue before a full trial of C3 and C4’s case, but argued that it would not be appropriate for the other issues to be ruled on before a full hearing.

Mrs Justice Steyn ruled that a further preliminary hearing to determine whether the decision to deprive C3 and C4 of their British citizenship rendered them stateless should be heard in November.

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Categories: British born women, Islamic State, Joined IS, News, revoke citizenship, Travelled to Syria, Travelled to Syria to join

Key workers remembered in silent tributes across Northern Ireland

Silences in memory of key workers who have lost their lives in the coronavirus pandemic have been held across Northern Ireland.

The acts of tribute were particularly poignant in hospitals where health workers thought of fallen colleagues.

More than 100 healthcare staff have died with Covid-19, including Pat McManus, 60, a nurse from Co Tyrone who had been working in a Staffordshire hospital.

From the Assembly chamber at Stormont to hospitals across the region, the minute of silence was observed.

Socially distanced staff lined the roads at Craigavon Area Hospital in Co Armagh and Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry while there were gatherings outside the Belfast City Hospital, which houses the region’s Nightingale facility.

At the Mater Infirmorum Hospital in Belfast, doctors, nurses and support staff gathered briefly in the atrium to pay tribute to fallen frontline workers.

There was a burst of spontaneous applause as the minute ended before staff swiftly returned to their posts.

Across the city at the Ulster Hospital, senior nurse Roisin Devlin was among those who took part in the tribute, and described it as “very poignant”.

She said staff gathered in a communal area of the ward to allow everyone to show their respect and patients to join to “remember the dead and highlight that they will never just be a number, but a much-loved member of staff”.

“In healthcare, teamwork is so important and when you lose a member of that team, it is like losing a family member,” she told the PA news agency.

“My thoughts will be with the families of those who died, but also with their work colleagues who need to continue working, knowing a member of their team is no longer there.

“Staff feel very strongly that we should all honour those who lost their lives by carrying out the minute’s silence so we will be forming a guard of honour in the ED (emergency department) along the corridor to show solidarity with our colleagues.”

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Categories: COVID, Lost their lives, News, Northern Ireland, Tributes

Spain probes how ex-rapper ‘IS fighter’ slipped into Europe

Spanish police who arrested a former London rapper allegedly turned fighter for so-called Islamic State in Syria, say they have no evidence he was planning an attack in Europe, but his illegal entry raises suspicions about his motivation.

Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary, whose father was convicted in the US of involvement in al Qaida bombings, was one of Europe’s most wanted foreign IS fighters and “extremely dangerous” according to Spanish police.

The 29-year-old was arrested on Monday with two more suspects in the southern coastal city of Almeria.

A National Police anti-terrorism expert involved in the arrests told The Associated Press that if Abdel Bary had repented he would have sought a legitimate way of returning to Europe.

“The fact that he used clandestine means and a middleman in the illegal migration network doesn’t fit the profile of somebody who wants to normalise his return,” said the investigator.

“At this point, we have no evidence on whether he was planning to stay in Spain or continue his trip,” he added. “We also don’t know what his ultimate goal was.”

Experts on religious extremism had raised worries that Abdel Bary could be part of a dormant cell or an agent in touch with other radicals in Europe.

“He was a nasty guy but it’s been five years since he disappeared, we don’t know what he was up to,” said Olivier Guitta, director of GlobalStrat, a geopolitical risk consultancy based in London.

“Is this guy coming into Europe with an idea of committing attacks? Or is he a reformed Jihadist? If he came back for an operation, that is a new game (which) puts everything in shambles.”

Police found Abdel Bary at 3am on Monday in an Almeria rented apartment that he shared with his two companions.

One of them is Abdeizerrak Seddiki, a 28-year-old Algerian known to Spanish law enforcement as a human trafficker. The third suspect is yet to be identified, police said.

The three declined to answer questions from police and from a National Court judge who sent them to a jail near Madrid on Wednesday while a probe continues on their possible links to terrorist organisations. No country has issued international arrest warrants against them.

Abdel Bary, who carried no documents at the time of his arrest, was stripped of his British citizenship when he allegedly joined the IS in 2013.

He has Egyptian nationality and his Egyptian father, Abdel Abdul Bary, is serving a 25-year prison sentence in the US for his role in the 1998 al Qaida bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 people.

Known as Lyricist Jinn and L Jinny in the London rap scene of the early 2010s, Abdel Bary went on to post online images of himself holding a severed head.

In 2015, he publicly declared on social media that he was abandoning the Islamic State and allegedly hid in Turkey.

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Categories: Abdel Bary, Al-Qaida, IS fighter, Islamic State, News, Spanish Police

TikTok bans Britain First and Tommy Robinson for hate speech violations

Video-sharing app TikTok has banned the accounts of far-right agitators Britain First and Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (aka Tommy Robinson).

In a statement, the company confirmed to Tell MAMA that both accounts “had been subject to an ongoing investigation due to the nature of some of the content posted.”

Multiple content violations concerned the use of hate speech, which fall foul of the platform’s Terms and Conditions.

The ban is permanent, meaning that neither Mr Robinson nor Britain First can return to TikTok.

A TikTok spokesperson said: “Keeping people on TikTok safe is a top priority and our Terms of Service and Community Guidelines clearly outline what is not acceptable on our platform. Content that seeks to promote hateful ideology has no place on TikTok and the accounts belonging to both Tommy Robinson and Britain First have been permanently removed for multiple violations of our Terms of Service and Community Guidelines. We’re continuously enhancing our efforts to ensure that individuals and organisations seeking to promote any form of hateful ideology cannot establish a sustainable presence on TikTok.”

Recent investigations has exposed their activity on the platform.

Stephen Yaxley-Lennon and Britain First have been banned from all other major social media platforms, including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat.

Tell MAMA welcomes this ban, as all social media platforms have a duty to protect its users from hate speech, and ban those who breach its policies.

 

 

 

 

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Categories: Britain First, News, Tommy Robinson

More than 16% of coronavirus victims in England from BAME communities

More than 16% of people who had tested positive for coronavirus when they died were from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities, new data shows.

On Monday, NHS England released data showing the ethnic breakdown of people who have died with coronavirus for the first time.

The figures, using data up to 5pm on April 17, reveal that of 13,918 patients in hospitals in England who had tested positive for Covid-19 at time of death, 73.6% were of white ethnicity, 16.2% were of BAME ethnicity and 0.7% had mixed ethnicity.

The remaining 9.5% had no stated or identifiable ethnicity.

The statistics come days after a review was announced to examine what appears to be a disproportionate number of BAME people who have been affected by Covid-19.

In the 2011 UK census around 7.5% of the population were Asian and 3.3% black.

Last week Downing Street confirmed the NHS and Public Health England will lead the review of evidence, following pressure on ministers to launch an investigation.

According to the new data, the 16.2% figure for BAME ethnicity breaks down as Indian 3.0%, Pakistani 2.1%, Bangladeshi 0.6%, any other Asian background 1.6%, Caribbean 2.9%, African 1.9%, any other black background 0.9%, Chinese 0.4% and any other ethnic group 2.8%.

Of the more than 60 NHS workers who have died with Covid-19, a significant proportion were from BAME backgrounds.

Discussing the review, Professor Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer for England, said ethnicity is “less clear” than three others factors in determining who is most at risk from coronavirus.

“This is something we are very keen to get extremely clear.

“We’ve asked Public Health England to look at this in some detail and then what we really want is, if we see any signal at all, we want to then know what next we can do about it to minimise risk.”

A London doctor working with Covid-19 patients said the virus has exposed health inequalities for minority communities.

Speaking to the PA news agency, Mohammed Abbas Khaki, 34, a GP with Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “Existing inequalities will be more greatly exposed at a time of crisis. For example, south Asians live in more deprived areas and have more diabetes, kidney and cardiovascular disease.

“Additionally, south Asian people often live in larger, multi-generational households, where social isolation may not be as easy.

“Many of these workers may also be in key worker jobs – combining their frontline roles with their living arrangements might be a reason that we are seeing so many of the BAME population in intensive care units.”

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Categories: Asian and minority communities, BAME, BAME Ethnicity, Black, Coronavirus, News

Far-right fakery: video of panic buyers queuing filmed 8 days before coronavirus lockdown began

A viral video purporting to show minority ethnic groups flouting the coronavirus lockdown is another incendiary piece of re-purposed far-right propaganda, Tell MAMA can reveal.

The video, which claims to show the police ‘ignoring’ long queues outside of a cash & carry store on Romford Road, in North-East London on April 17, first appeared online a month earlier, on March 17 – eight days before the prime minister Boris Johnson announced strict lockdown measures.

Others have attempted to use footage filmed on April 14 at the same location to stoke racial tensions.

The March 17 video appeared on Twitter at 4:51 pm GMT, and was captioned, “Panic buy in very famous Asian departmental store, The Mina store in Manor park, London E12.”

We compared both videos, revealing that the tweet on the left, was taken on March 17, eight days before the lockdown was introduced. On the right, is from a far-right user, using the same video to claim that it was filmed on April 17.

On the evening of April 17, the re-purposed content shared from the Twitter and Telegram accounts of a far-right activist which had gained over five-thousand views on both platforms, dwarfing the 202 views of the original video, which had reflected a moment in time when panic buying made headlines nationally.

On Twitter, the far-right @DawkinsReturns account, shared the re-purposed video with the caption ‘Social Distancing?’ but on Telegram, however, used racialised language to describe the minority ethnic groups featured as the ‘new British’. This user has previously shared anti-Muslim and far-right conspiracies on Twitter, including accusing a Muslim woman of ‘taqiyya‘ and sharing a video discussing demographic change captioned “Britain first live talk on demographics and the great replacement theory.”

The latter far-right conspiracy inspired the white supremacist terror attacks in New Zealand which left 51 Muslims dead last March (and inspired further acts of racist terror in various countries).

Other Twitter accounts would copy the text of this Telegram post, and when combined, had gained almost two-thousand retweets, as the video gained over 50,000 views from both posts.

Tell MAMA continues to urge Twitter to revise its policies and allow users to report tweets designed to mislead and stoke racial and religious hatred. Academics have made similar arguments and warnings.

This problem has intensified during the lockdown, as Tell MAMA has highlighted other examples in recent weeks. Nor is the issue isolated to the UK, as viral falsehoods have gained traction in the United States and India.

 

 

 

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Categories: Coronavirus, Fake News, News

Home Office confirms environmentalists referred to anti-terror programme

Environmental campaigners have been referred to the Home Office’s anti-terror Prevent programme amid fears they may become radicalised, it has emerged.

Data obtained by The Times newspaper under Freedom of Information laws found at least 45 activists were referred to Prevent over alleged environmental extremism between April 2016 and March last year.

The figures come at a time of increased global focus on climate change and environmental issues, with activists such as Extinction Rebellion orchestrating synchronised mass protests around the world.

The prominence of teenage campaigner Greta Thunberg has also helped raised the profile of green causes.

The data does not contain information on whether any of those referred to Prevent were aligned to any particular cause or organisation, and the Home Office said the “vast majority” of cases were closed with no further action.

A Home Office spokesman said: “Prevent is about safeguarding people at risk from being drawn into all forms of terrorism, rather than targeting a particular ideology.

“Activists engaged in peaceful protest for environmental or other causes are not extremists.

“All referrals to Prevent are carefully assessed – if an individual does not meet the threshold, the case is immediately closed.”

The strategy, launched in 2003, is one strand of the Government’s multi-pronged national counter-terrorism programme.

It relies on tip-offs from members of the public, schools and other organisations in identifying those who may be at risk of becoming radicalised to commit acts of terrorism.

In the vast majority of cases, the person identified will either leave the process requiring no further action, or will be signposted to other services.

When authorities conclude there is a risk that the person could be drawn into terrorism, they can be supported through another scheme known as Channel.

Prevent has also been criticised for its impact on free speech, placing an additional burden on teaching staff, and has been described as being heavy-handed in its approach.

Allan Hogarth, head of advocacy and programmes at charity Amnesty UK, said the referral of environmental activists was “deeply concerning”.

He said: “The Government must respect the rights of those peacefully protesting and ensure that the voices of those demanding action on tackling the climate crisis can be heard without fear of being labelled ‘extremists’.

“Under the guise of Prevent and the incredibly vague definition of ‘extremism’ the Government has been able to profile, use surveillance, compile data and infringe on the personal freedoms of many individuals and minority communities.

“This cannot go on.”

Green Party peer Baroness Jenny Jones said: “The use of Prevent to deal with social campaigners and environmentalists shows that the Home Office and politicians need to urgently define domestic extremism and give the police a tight legal definition that they have to stick to.

“I want the police to be focused on dealing with serious crimes, rather than chasing round after people who are peacefully taking part in the democratic process.”

Last summer the Government ordered a review into the programme, which is due to report back to Parliament later this year.

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Categories: counter-extremism, counter-terrorism, Environmentalists, Home Office, News, Referred to Prevent

Mother and daughter racially abused and assaulted in changing room

A woman racially abused a black Muslim woman and then assaulted her and her young daughter at a leisure centre in North London.

The Metropolitan Police are investigating the attack which occurred on February 7.

Tell MAMA can reveal that the mother and her young daughters were waiting in the changing area when a woman informed them to move their bags and to remove her hijab, and when the mother requested to know why, she received a torrent of racial abuse, which included statements like, “Go away, you’re not from here, you’re Muslim,” and “you’re black, you’re from Africa, you’re Somali, you’re smelly.”

The horrendous racial abuse soon morphed into physical violence, as the woman spat in the Muslim woman’s face on two occasions, pulling at her hair when she attempted to stop her from assault one of her daughters.

The family expressed their concerns about how management had handled their initial complaint, which, in their opinion, did not treat it with the seriousness required, including an initial claim from staff that there was no formal complaints process.

An apology, however, given over email following a written complaint, also confirmed that management is happy to assist with the police investigation.

There was a noted frustration with the prolonged reporting process to the police, as the family had been told on more than one occasion, to report the racist attack online instead, even after visiting their local station.

Tell MAMA will assist in the matter further when required, and to protect the identities of those affected, we have declined to reveal further details as the investigation is ongoing.

You can get advice from our confidential and free helpline on 0800 456 1226. Or through our free iOS or Android apps. Report through our online form. Or contact us via WhatsApp on 0734 184 6086.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Categories: London, MET Police, News