Abu Haleema jailed for two and a half years for glorifying terrorism

Abu Haleema (Twitter)

A man has been jailed for glorifying terrorism after sharing a video on the 18th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

Shakil Chapra, also known as Abu Haleema, was part of the now banned al-Muhajiroun group which was once led by Anjem Choudary.

Chapra, who once had a prominent presence open social media and even appeared in the Channel 4 documentary The Jihadis Next Door in 2016, was sentenced at Kingston Crown Court.

On Friday the 43 year old from Slough pleaded guilty to disseminating a terrorist publication in March and was jailed for two-and-half years, with an extra 12 months on extended licence.

Judge Peter Lodder QC told him: “You are to be sentenced for a single count of distributing a terrorist publication – posting a video agreed to give indirect glorification to and thus encouragement of terrorism… From at least 2013, when you joined ALM, you have held extreme Islamic views.”

Chapra was arrested in November last year after police found a chat thread on the phone of Shehroz Iqbal who was jailed for eight-and-a-half years at the Old Bailey last year, having been found guilty of encouraging terrorism.

The court heard Iqbal made a video inciting a terror attack on London’s Royal Festival Hall and posted it to a WhatsApp group with the words: “Attack, attack.”

The WhatsApp chat thread contained postings by Chapra, using his alias Abu Haleema, including a video on September 11 2019 – 18 years after the attacks in the U.S.

The one minute and 33 second clip features the leader of Boko Haram, Abu Bakr Shekau. Chapra wrote: “I will show you the most gangster Nigerian” and following the video posted a 100% and three flame emojis, which prosecutors said was an endorsement of the terrorist’s message.

Following his arrest, Chapra said: “I used to buy into ISIS but not anymore… You say September last year, I don’t support 9/11.”

But prosecutor Alistair Richardson said he “remains a committed and highly concerning extremist… The defendant holds and continues to hold extreme Islamic views, he has held those views for some years.”

On the other hand, Hossein Zahir, defending, said Chapra’s “ideological position has changed” and there has been “a shift in his view” after breaking ties with former associates.

“My client is no longer in the category that supports ISIS,” he said. “There has been a falling out of some magnitude some time ago.”

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