Dagenham man made pro-Isis posts for ‘lockdown thrill’

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From the Barking and Dagenham Post and the BBC

An aspiring rapper accused of plotting a terror attack has told jurors he made pro-Islamic State comments online for a “thrill” in lockdown.

Sahayb Abu, from Dagenham, allegedly bought an 18in sword, knife, body armour, balaclavas and a hat in preparation for a strike last summer.

Giving evidence at the Old Bailey on Monday, March 1, the convicted burglar claimed he had an “epiphany” on release from prison in March last year.

He said he made numerous searches for Isis online for news of his half-brothers Wail and Suleyman Aweys, who are believed to have died in Syria in 2016. . . He told jurors he was no Mother Teresa or Dalai Lama, and “pro-violence” online posts were just “trolling”.

Mr Abu said: “This happened during lockdown. Nothing to do. The phone became a kind of portal. Being a troll.”

The prosecutor asked Mr Abu about one post on Islam being a religion of “war”. He said: “Bearing in mind the personal tragedy that had befallen your family because of the activities of IS, why post something like that?”

Mr Abu replied: “Because it would bring a thrill to my life. I know it’s sad. I know it’s pathetic.”

Mr McGuinness asked: “You chose to make those words pro-IS. It’s IS sentiment. Didn’t those words choke in your mouth as you were typing? Or the other explanation is these posts represent the way you felt and thought at the time.”

Mr Abu, who denies preparing an act of terrorism, replied: “It was just quarantine. I became pathetic. I’m sorry. I apologise.”

But Mr McGuinness went on to tell the defendant: “You did what your brothers did, you joined them. You became an IS supporter.”

Mr Abu replied: “No, I did not support them at all. I wanted to do good things in my life.”

His brother Muhamed Abu, 32, of Norwood, south London, is also on trial at the Old Bailey. He denies failing to disclose information about acts of terrorism.

The trial continues.

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