Barber shop owner who sent COVID grants money to Islamic State fighters jailed; he then shouted May Allah destroy you at officers.

From Sky News

A barber shop owner who sent thousands of pounds to Islamic State (IS) fighters in Syria after claiming COVID grant payments has been jailed for 12 years.

Tarek Namouz, 43, from Hammersmith in west London, had received the bounce back loans to help his business, Boss Crew Barbers, during the pandemic.

He had been earlier found guilty at Kingston Crown Court of eight counts of funding terrorism and two counts of possessing information likely to be useful for terrorism. After Judge Peter Lodder KC handed down the sentence on Thursday, also at Kingston Crown Court, which included a further year on extended licence, Namouz expressed his thanks to the judge but shouted “May Allah destroy you” at officers.

He had previously been released from prison early after serving half of a 10-year prison sentence for rape for attacking a woman half his age in north London pub, The Prince, where he was the landlord.

When police raided the barber’s shop in Blythe Road, Olympia, on 25 May 2021, prosecutors say they found cash and a hidden mobile phone containing messages to a man named Yahya Ahmed Alia in Syria, an IS bomb-making video and a video showing how to kill with a knife. Namouz lived in a third-floor flat above the shop.

Judge Peter Lodder KC said Namouz had demonstrated a “commitment to terrorism” and planned to “re-establish a state run in accordance with extreme Islamic principles”.

Namouz denied knowing the money would be used for terrorism, telling police he sent the funds to “help… the poor and needy in Syria”. But analysis of one of Namouz’s phones showed he was in regular contact with individuals in Syria, and talked about buying a building for “storing weapons”, such as Kalashnikovs, heavy machine guns and explosives, and occupying it with “IS fighters”.

In messages to Alia, Namouz said he wanted to “burn Christianity” and have “incinerators like Hitler,” adding: “A lesson from history. No negotiation, no surrender, we will give them body parts, pure mincemeat. . . All the banks’ money, we will buy arms and manufacturing. Banks’ money is halal [permitted] for us. Banks’ money is to buy fighting tools. Today we have money but you never know what will happen tomorrow. If something happens to me, you will have a fortune to work with and you can sell it and manage well in my absence.”