Place of Birth: Willesden, northwestern London;
Yahya Rashid is a London teenager blew his student loan on travelling to Syria to join ISIS – and duped airport police by claiming the group was hoping to find love in the war-torn country.
He used a forged BTEC certificate to gain a place at Middlesex University despite having an IQ of between 65 and 70 – far below the average of between 85 and 115.
He then used a loan and educational grants that he was entitled to claim to take four friends from his mosque with him to the Turkey – Syria border via Morocco, Woolwich Crown Court heard.
While Rashid’s friends crossed to border to Syria, the teenager, then only 18, backed out and remained in Turkey after talking to his father. He then returned to the UK and was arrested. Rashid was able to outfox a suspicious police officer the airport when he arrived ‘out of breath’ at the departure gate with his pals Khalid Abdul-Rahman and Ibrahim Amouri, the court heard.
The authorities were worried that they might be on route to Iraq or Syria. However, they told the officer they were looking for love, not war.
‘They said they were going to find girls and have a good time,’ she said in a statement read out in court. ‘They said they didn’t like fighting and they liked the good life.’
The group then started a journey that led them eventually to the Turkish border town of Gaziantep.
Rashid, whose family is originally from Somalia, paid £906 for five return flights to Morocco for himself and four others – Khalid Abdul-Rahman, Ibrahim Amouri, Swaleh Mohammed and Mr Mohammed’s wife, Deqo Osman, who all attended Wembley Mosque.
The jury was told that before he left the UK Rashid’s YouTube account had ticked ‘like’ on around 300 YouTube videos, many of them Islamist-themed, although it could not be proved he had personally ticked them.
It had also been used to make comments under other videos, including one on the Charlie Hebdo massacre where a comment was left saying: ‘Allah Akbar (God is great). This makes me happy.’
Rashid was convicted of engaging in conduct in preparation for committing an act of terrorism, and engaging in conduct with the intention of assisting others to commit acts of terrorism.
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