ISIS supporter who called for attack on Prince George is jailed
This newly-released video shows an ISIS supporter pretending to faint when he was arrested by police over a string of terrorism offences.
Husnain Rashid, 32, was filmed falling to the ground when he was confronted by officers at his parents’ home in Nelson, Lancashire, in November last year.
The former website designer was jailed for a minimum of 25 years today after admitting to preparing and encouraging acts of terrorism.
Woolwich Crown Court heard how Rashid used an encrypted messaging app to urge extremists to carry out ‘lone wolf’ attacks, including one on Prince George shortly after he started school at Thomas’s Battersea, south London, last September.
Rashid posted a photo of the four-year-old son of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge alongside the chilling message: ‘Even the royal family will not be left alone. School starts early.’
The Islamic religion teacher urged followers to inject ice cream with poison and to ‘blow up and slaughter’ fans at the World Cup in Russia this summer.
Rashid, who was in communication with a British ISIS operative in Syria, had also started to create an online magazine called the Lone Mujahid – the same name given to his Telegram channel.
Investigators believe that Rashid was setting up an operation to ‘mirror’ the ISIS propaganda unit in Raqqa, Syria.
Rashid had maintained his innocence at the start of his trial but dramatically changed his plea three days into proceedings and admitted to a string of terrorism offences. He was handed three concurrent life sentences today.
Sentencing, Judge Andrew Lees said Rashid had shown ‘ruthless dedication to the cause’, adding: ‘You are in my judgment a dangerous offender. It is not possible to say when you will cease to be a danger.’
The court heard how Rashid’s prolific Lone Muhajid Telegram channel operated as an ‘e-toolkit for terrorism’. He is thought to have sent some 300,000 messages on the app in the 18 months before his arrest.
The media platform is heavily encrypted and ‘prides itself on never having provided law enforcement agencies with any user data’, allowing users to communicate without detection, a spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said today.
The posts allegedly included a recipe for the poison ricin from the Islamist propaganda magazine Inspire, how to make Molotov cocktails and napalm, and a suggestion of poisoning supermarket ice creams.
The post about Prince George showed the young royal next to a photo of his school.
Superimposed onto the image was a black silhouette of a jihadi fighter with the caption: ‘Even the royal family will not be left alone. School starts early.’
Judge Lees said: ‘The message was clear: you were providing the name and address of Prince George’s school, an image of Prince George’s school and the instruction or threat that Prince George and other members of the royal family should be viewed as potential targets.’
It also included suggestions for a wide-range of other targets, including British Army bases, shopping centres, Jewish communities and Government buildings.
Chat members also analysed the terrorist bomb attack on the Besiktas stadium, in Istanbul, in which 38 people were killed.
Chat members discussed how those who attended the match were likely to be non-Muslims and the merits of attacking a lower league football match where security was likely to be less tight.
Rashid also posted a map of Sixth Avenue in New York with the message, ‘New York Halloween Parade. Have you made your preparations? The Countdown begins.’
The post was made soon after Sayfullah Saipo, had driven a truck into pedestrians in New York, killing eight and injuring others.
Rashid was arrested by officers by Greater Manchester Police on 22 November last year.
When officers raided his home, Rashid ran out the back door of the house to escape police and threw his mobile phone high into the air to avoid being found with it in his possession.
It landed over the back wall at the feet of an officer who had surrounded the house.
Officers found chats between Rahid and the ISIS news agency, Amaq, and a draft for a new online magazine which offered ‘tips for the mujahideen [fighters] in the enemy lands’.
Annabel Darlow QC, prosecuting, said: ‘The underlying message intended by the defendant was clear: to encourage lone wolf jihadists operating on British soil to launch an attack on those watching events in stadiums and suggesting how to maximise the impact of the attack.’
Det Chief Insp Will Chatterton, head of investigations for counter-terrorism policing in the north-west, said: ‘[Rashid] was in the process of creating an online Jihadi magazine, The Lone Mujahid, which contained advice and guidance to specifically lone wolf Jihadists.
‘At the same time he was creating and managing and populating many forums or encrypted channels with colossal amounts of terrorist materials and the glorification of terrorism that went around the globe.
‘He was also communicating with individuals on the battlefield in Syria. We saw direct communication with someone actually fighting with Isil that included an exchange of advice and techniques.
‘The sheer volume of material he created and populated, and the glorification that went alongside it, was readily available to people across the globe.’
Rashid admitted three counts of engaging in conduct in preparation of terrorist acts, and was given a life sentence for each, with a minimum term of 25 years, and one count of encouraging terrorism.
Two further charges of dissemination of a terrorist publication were laid on file.
The offences spanned from October 2016 to April this year.