Aweys Shikhey, a Dutch national originally from Somalia, was said to be ‘hiding in plain sight’ as he prepared to abandon his wife and children to join the terrorist group. He allegedly discussed gunning down Jewish people leaving from ‘the game’ Tottenham Hotspur’s stadium White Hart Lane in North London, and also discussed killing ‘the old woman Elizabeth’ – said to be a reference to the Queen. Tottenham Hotspur, or Spurs, have traditionally been supported by Jewish supporters. Their chant was for many years “Yid Army!” used by Jewish and non Jewish supporters alike, but in recent years this has been discouraged, ostensibly because it was anti-semitic, but in my own opinion more because in the modern climate in London Jewish culture and presence is quietly downplayed and discouraged.
But he dropped the plans in order to leave for Syria with a woman he had met online, abandoning a wife and children in the Netherlands and another in Kenya.
Shikhey … was arrested on May 23 last year at Stansted Airport. He appeared to be a quiet, hard-working, religious man, who lived in Tottenham, north London, and worked for the delivery firm DPD, the court heard.
Shikhey’s true motivation was allegedly revealed in encrypted chat messages on Threema and Telegram with a fellow Somalian living in Kenya. The exchanges were revealed on Abdirahman Idris Hassan’s computer after he was arrested for alleged terrorism offences in September 2016.
In one message, Hassan told Shikhey: ‘May god bestow you in killing David Cameron and the old woman Elizabeth.’
‘Amen brother,’ Shikhey replied.
In another message, Hassan asked Shikhey if he could get a gun.
Shikhey replied: ‘I don’t know but three or five people are needed who are connected to each other who can carry out a bloody attack, particularly like martyrdom seeker.’
Hassan said they needed an ‘expert for this kind of thing’ and both men agreed it looked ‘a bit heavy.’
Shikhey said it would be ‘better if AK47, M16 and BKM can be found’ referring to various types of assault rifle. They could have been taken to Stamford Hill and when people leave from the game. On Saturday a lot of Jews gather over there. It is an area of the UK where they are a majority, it’s full of people.’
Despite earning a “respectable wage”, Shikhey allegedly started looking at how to raise “considerable amounts” of money. He made a series of unsuccessful loan applications (for home improvements with the AA, Amigo, and Everyday Lending) before securing £10,000 from Barclays “ostensibly for a wedding”.
Shikhey had been in contact with a woman in Norway, Raaqiya Hussain, who was an “avid supporter” of Islamic State, the court heard. Mr Jameson said she was “anxious” to migrate from the West to Islamic State territory, and marry a fighter, whether Shikhey or “another jihadist”.
Calling herself ‘Umm Seyfullah’, Hussain, a mother of one, described herself as a mujahida [female fighter] and had created an ISIS identity card with her name on it. She had downloaded a six-minute video showing how to make an explosive known as RDX and a document headed ‘Lesson 11’ about timers, fuses and detonators.
In March 2017, Shikhey sent her $8,400, and the next month transferred $3,000 and $600, jurors were told.
Shikhey said his son was a member of a Somali academy called Ashbaal and added: ‘God willing, I will move him from there, right now he is with them and studying at their academy. This is my situation and now I decide to join the troops of god and our Caliph is the leader, may god protect him.’
He (Shikhey) was arrested while due to fly to Sarajevo, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, via Istanbul the next day, having bought a one-way ticket. Shikhey, of no fixed address, denies engaging in conduct in preparation to commit terrorist acts.
The trial continues.