A FATHER whose sons died fighting in Syria has been found guilty of encouraging violent jihad in a speech at a mosque.
Abubaker Deghayes, of Saltdean, promoted “jihad by sword” when he addressed worshippers at the Brighton Mosque and Muslim Community Centre in November 2020.
Deghayes, originally from Libya, denied intending to encourage terrorism in his speech to around 50 people, including children.
On Wednesday, a jury at the Old Bailey found him guilty of the charge.
Two of Deghayes’ sons were killed fighting for Islamists in Syria. He also lost a third in a stabbing in Brighton. Amer, another son and former finance student, who also travelled to Syria, is understood to be continuing to fight.
During his Old Bailey trial, jurors were played a video of Deghayes’ speech at the mosque.
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. 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.”
Deghayes 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 “letterboxes”.
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 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.