Imam ‘told children martyrdom was supreme success,’ British court hears

Imam ‘told children martyrdom was supreme success,’ British court hears

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British Imam, Islamic State

A British imam voiced support for Islamic State and told children at his mosque that martyrdom was the “supreme success” and better than anything they would achieve at school or college, a court in England heard.

Kamran Hussain, 40, allegedly made a series of radical sermons over four months last year encouraging terrorism and supporting IS in Syria.

The Friday lunchtime speeches at the charity-funded mosque in Tunstall High Street, Stoke on Trent, England, were in front of around 40 worshippers, often including children aged under 15, jurors heard.

He was arrested after an undercover law enforcement officer secretly recorded sermons from June last year.

On September 2 last year, Hussain talked about martyrdom to a congregation of nine children and 35 adults.

Prosecutor Sarah Whitehouse QC said: “Mr Hussain told his audience that martyrdom was the supreme success and was greater than any other success, such as school or college.”

Martyrs had nothing to fear when “you go in front of Allah with the bullet wounds and the sword wounds and you are raised in that situation with the blood still coming from your body”, Hussain allegedly said.

He continued on the same theme on September 16 last year and criticised the Prevent programme, aimed at identifying and intervening when young people are at risk of radicalisation, jurors heard.

At a meeting on August 19 last year, there were up to 15 children present and 25 adults as he gave a sermon about “Kuffar” or non-Muslims, the court heard.

Hussain allegedly blamed the British government for creating the English Defence League and funding them to “insult” Muslims and put them down.

He also claimed far right group Britain First was a “government-backed project”, jurors heard.

In all, the undercover officer known as Qasim attended 17 sermons, 10 of which had “strayed beyond the mainstream moderate Islamic thought”, Mrs Whitehouse said.

On June 24 last year, Hussain allegedly referred to IS in his sermon as “a small fledgling state who is standing in the face of a pompous and arrogant army”.

On that occasion he called on the congregation of 10 men to pray for their victory and their oppressors to be “annihilated”.

On July 22, last year, he prayed for all to live under Sharia law and urged his listeners to stand against sinners, oppressors and infidel, the court heard.

He allegedly urged them to “finish them and remove their heads for what they do”, adding: “When you don’t fulfil the command of Allah, I’m coming to remove your head.”

On August 5 last year he spoke in favour of engaging in jihad to “take over a land” and “stand the black flag”.

He allegedly said that neither the “Queen or prime minister” could stand in the way of the law of Allah.

In a recording retrieved from Hussain’s phone, he also allegedly predicted the “black flag” would “rise over Big Ben and Downing Street”.

After he was arrested in February, Hussain issued a short statement saying the ability to discuss “difficult concepts in a challenging world!” is an essential part of exercising religion and freedom of speech.

Hussain, from Tunstall, denies eight charges, two of supporting IS and six of encouraging terrorism on dates between June and September last year. The Old Bailey trial continues.

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