Man guilty of promoting ‘jihad by sword’ in mosque speech

A father whose two sons died fighting in Syria has been found guilty of encouraging violent jihad in a speech at his local mosque.

Abubaker Deghayes, 53, promoted “jihad by sword” when he addressed worshippers at the Brighton Mosque and Muslim Community Centre.

The defendant, who originally comes from Libya, had denied intending to encourage terrorism in his speech to around 50 people, including children and young adults.

On Wednesday, a jury at the Old Bailey found him guilty of the charge.

It can now be reported that two of Deghayes’ sons were killed fighting for Islamists in Syria and he lost a third in a stabbing in the East Sussex city.

Abdul – who had become embroiled with drugs and was murdered by a dealer in 2019 aged 22 – was the twin brother of Abdullah, who was killed fighting in Syria in 2016 aged 18.

Their brother Jaffar, 17, was killed in 2014 while trying to overthrow Bashar Al-Assad’s government.

Amer, another son and former finance student, who also travelled to Syria, is understood to be continuing to fight for the cause.

During his Old Bailey trial, jurors were played a video of Deghayes’ speech at the mosque on Sunday November 1 2020.

In it, he was seen to make a stabbing gesture when talking about jihad.

He told worshippers: “Whose power is more powerful than us? Allah is more powerful than you. You, idiots. You kuffar (non-believers)… The non-believer is an idiot. He’s stupid.”

He went on: “Jihad, jihad, jihad. Jihad is compulsory. Jihad is fighting by sword. That means this jihad is compulsory upon you, not jihad is the word of mouth but jihad will remain compulsory until the Day of Resurrection…”

Prosecutor Ben Lloyd told jurors that the speech was not given “innocently or naively”.

He said: “The prosecution case is clear. By the defendant’s words and gestures he was encouraging people to undertake violent jihad.

“The defendant’s speech demonstrates him to be an Islamic extremist. He is someone who believes in the use of violence in the cause of Islam.

“Or, at the very least, he was reckless in giving his speech as to whether people would be encouraged.”

The defendant, of Saltdean in East Sussex, denied wrongdoing, saying he was explaining the meaning of Jihad by the sword as self-defence.

The gesture he made was a “dance of the blade”, he claimed.

He also referred to Prime Minister Boris Johnson as wearing a face covering now after describing Muslim women as “letter boxes”.

The jury was told nothing about the Deghayes family background.

In 2017, a serious case review identified missed opportunities to prevent Deghayes’ sons from being radicalised before they were killed in Syria.

There was also little understanding of the part religion played in the lives of Abdullah and Jaffar, who were believed to have been with the al Qaida-affiliated Al-Nusra Front when they died, the review added.

The report also contained allegations that their father would wake his children up at 4.30am to study the Koran and would whip them with electrical wire or hand out other punishments if he felt they were not doing this properly.

After the review, their uncle Omar Deghayes – who was arrested in Pakistan in 2002 and spent five years in Guantanamo Bay – hit out at police, claiming they took “no action whatsoever” while his radicalised young nephews were being racially abused.

Following Deghayes’ conviction, he was granted continued bail ahead of sentencing at the Old Bailey on February 25.

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Categories: Abubaker Deghayes, Brighton, Brighton Mosque, Kuffar, News, Saltdean

Racist couple with “extreme racist attitudes” avoid prison over racist attack

A racist couple who the judge described as having “expressed extreme racist attitudes” and violently assaulted a British-Iranian couple outside of a hotel in Sheffield avoided prison.

The sustained racist attack occurred on the evening of September 25, 2020, outside of the Leopold Hotel at around 10pm, YorkshireLive and the Rotherham Advertiser reported.

Brittney Peterson, 23, broke the women’s nose after repeatedly punching them in the face following a deluge of racist abuse towards the couple waiting outside the hotel – who came to the city on a trip.

Ms Peterson and her 34-year-old partner Alan Smith had earlier been drinking at a bar in Leopold Square when they confronted and abused staff, with Peterson telling one staff member, “Don’t talk to me like I’m Black,” according to the prosecution.

CCTV tracked the couple to the hotel where they conversed with them, with Ms Peterson subjecting the woman to a torrent of racist abuse after learning their backgrounds, after asking them where they are from. The couple replied: “the Middle East”, to which Peterson aggressively responded, “Oh, the f******* Middle East”.

Intimidating the couple further, Peterson and Smith made further racist comments, informing them to “go back to your own country”.

When the couple attempted to leave and enter the hotel reception, Peterson began punching the woman as Smith attacked the man.

The prosecution further outlined how the man had put himself between the racist couple and his partner to protect them, but the racist couple continued their attack.

Security staff at a bar close intervened to stop the racist violence.

YorkshireLive reported that the female victim sustained a broken nose and facial bruising, as her partner suffered head injuries.

A victim’s personal statement read to the court from the man and detailed further by the Rotherham Advertiser stated: “It makes me very angry and upset as I am a British citizen and I do not expect this to happen to anyone because of their race.”

The defence argued that Smith and Peterson were remorseful and regretted their behaviour.

Peterson would later admit racially aggravated GBH as Smith, who is based in Rotherham, admitted racially aggravated wounding.

Judge Sarah Wright passed 13-month prison sentences respectively, suspended for two years, with “onerous” conditions attached, as the couple had come “close” to custodial sentences.

The judge called on the racist couple to “educate themselves” and “reflect on their behaviour”.

Both must now complete 25 days of rehabilitation, pay their victims £500 each, perform 180 hours of unpaid work, observe a curfew of 8 pm to 6 am and wear electronic tags.

Tell MAMA will be raising our concerns about the lenient nature of the sentencing with the relevant authorities.

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: CPS, hate crime, News, Sheffield, South Yorkshire police

Ex-Defence Forces soldier in bid to have Islamic State terror charges dropped

A former member of the Defence Forces is seeking to have charges of being a member of so-called Islamic State (IS) and financing terrorism dropped at the Special Criminal Court.

Lawyers for Louth woman Lisa Smith, 39, have made an application for the case against her to be dismissed.

It is expected that they will argue there is not sufficient evidence to convict their client on any of the charges.

The case received widespread attention in 2019 when it emerged that Smith, a former Air Corps soldier who had worked on the Government jet, had been detained in Syria over alleged links to IS.

Smith was arrested at Dublin Airport in 2019 on suspicion of terrorist offences after returning from Turkey in November with her young daughter.

She had travelled to Syria a number of years ago after she converted to Islam.

Smith is charged under Section Six of the Criminal Justice (Terrorist Offences) Act 2005 which makes it an offence to join a foreign unlawful organisation.

It is alleged that between October 28, 2015 and December 1 2019 at a location outside the State, she was a member of a terrorist group styling itself as the Islamic State.

She has also been accused of financing terrorism, by sending 800 euro in assistance by Western Union money transfer to a named individual in 2015.

She has denied the charges.

The trial was scheduled to begin on Tuesday, but the non-jury court will first have to deal with pre-trial application.

Read more: IS Bride, Lisa Smith, Was Not A Member of a Terrorist Group, Solicitor Claims

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Categories: Islamic State, Lisa Smith, News, Syria

Primary school teacher banned after sending thousands of pounds to terror groups

A primary school teacher has been banned from teaching after sending thousands of pounds to individuals and groups linked to terrorism.

Miriam Sebbagh, 52, who worked at Hunwick primary school in Crook, County Durham, has been prohibited “indefinitely” from any classroom by the Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA).

It came after she was found to have made five payments worth £2,500 to a person linked to banned terrorist organisation Al-Muhajiroun (ALM), as well as sending extremist videos promoting violent jihad.

In July 2017, Ms Sebbagh was arrested by Counter Terrorism Policing North East (CTPNE) but the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) decided there was “insufficient evidence” to charge her.

CTPNE “maintained a high level of concern” regarding Ms Sebbagh’s state of mind, her opinions and her actions as a teacher, and submitted that her conduct should be considered by the TRA.

A witness statement provided to the panel said: “Ms Sebbagh initially came to the attention of CTPNE following receipt of financial intelligence, which indicated that she had made several payments to an individual linked to Al- Muhajiroun, which is a proscribed terrorist organisation.

“The investigation identified that Ms Sebbagh sent five payments [of ] £2,500 from her account to the individual.”

A further seven payments totalling £1,310 were made between January 27 and July 5 2016 to an individual who is suspected to have left the UK and join the terrorist group calling itself Islamic State.

In 2017, a payment of £100 was made to an individual believed to have married a suspected ALM member and there was an unsuccessful payment in 2015 to an individual arrested over terrorism offences, the panel was told.

Police discovered £4,670 in a safe at her address in 2018 which was intended to fund terror attacks.

The money was forfeited under the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 and Ms Sebbagh was also ordered to pay costs of £12,654.

During a police interview on May 8 2018, Ms Sebbagh said she regularly donated to good causes including Muslim charities as part of her faith and denied making payments to those linked to terrorism.

A witness statement to the panel said: “Despite Ms Sebbagh’s assertion that the payments she had made were charitable in nature, the only ‘charitable’ aspects of those payments were to support fellow extremists whilst under criminal investigation for terrorist-related offences and/or to fund travel to join Isis or others who espouse hate.”

The panel also heard Ms Sebbagh had “strongly-held views” that violent jihad was the “correct interpretation of Islamic teaching”.

She had liked a number of pages on Facebook including those of individuals linked to IS, extremist views and hate speech, and had been trying to radicalise a friend with her beliefs about “violent jihad”.

Ms Sebbagh also sent four “extreme and concerning” videos to someone, one of which would be classified as a criminal offence to disseminate contrary to the Terrorism Act 2006.

Alan Meyrick, on behalf of the Education Secretary, made the decision to ban Ms Sebbagh due to the “seriousness of the allegations found proved against her”.

Ms Sebbagh did not attend the hearing, which took place on December 21.

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Categories: Al-Muhajiroun, Hunwick primary school, Miriam Sebbagh, News, Teaching Regulation Agency

Far-right terror teen who wanted to attack mosque avoids prison

A far-right terrorist who wanted to indiscriminately murder Muslims at a mosque and kill “10,000 people” avoided a prison sentence, receiving a 24-month youth rehabilitation order instead.

The 17-year-old from Wiltshire, who maintains legal anonymity due to their age, was given the sentence at Southampton Youth Court.

The sentence mirrors that given to a neo-Nazi terrorist, who came to the attention of authorities aged just thirteen before receiving their rehabilitation order in February 2021.

He pleaded guilty to possessing material likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism.

The investigation began when the public contacted the authorities following a slew of racist comments on online message boards – including a desire to murder Muslims with a gun at a mosque, a chilling reminder of the lingering influence of the white supremacist terrorist who murdered 51 Muslims in Christchurch, New Zealand in March 2019.

On June 18, 2021, an arrest resulted in police finding a handwritten note at their home address called “The Big Plan”.

A spokesperson for Counter Terrorism Policing South East (CTPSE) revealed that in contained information and “details of how to make a bomb,” identifiable locations and individuals they believed to be “aspirational targets” amidst an intention to kill over 10,000 people.

Detective Chief Superintendent Kath Barnes, who leads the CTPSE, thanked those who reported the individual to the anti-terrorism hotline. In a statement, she said: “Having read the vile racist abuse online, they chose to ACT; they contacted the Anti-Terrorism Hotline and shared their concerns with us, and as a result, we were able to intervene before the situation escalated any further.”

CTPSE have also documented “an increase in the proportion of our investigations from the threat from extreme right-wing terrorism.”

Deb Smith, Wiltshire Police’s Assistant Chief Constable, said: “I hope that our communities feel reassured that we acted swiftly, in conjunction with our partners, to ensure that this individual was detained and could no longer pose a risk to the wider public.”

Tell MAMA will be raising our concerns about the lenient nature of the sentencing with the relevant authorities.

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Categories: Christchurch, Far Right groups, mosque, News, terrorism, Wiltshire