Husnain Rashid, a 34-year-old ISIS supporter from Lancashire, has been sentenced to life in prison over his repeated calls to murder British citizens, sending instructions in 300,000 posts on the heavily-encrypted Telegram network in just 18 months.
Mr Rashid, who operated from his bedroom at his parents’ house on Leonard Street in Nelson, a small town of 29,000 people, urged Islamists to wage jihad by murdering Jews, injecting cyanide into supermarket goods, and kidnapping Prince George. He had even sent one contact instructions on how to shoot down aircraft.
As part of his work as a facilitator for terrorism, he published an online library of instructions on committing acts of terrorism, encouraging would-be Islamist terrorists to operate alone using poisons, vehicles, weapons, bombs, chemicals or knives to murder and maim. He was also working on a magazine called Lone Mujahid which police said was “a sort of e-toolkit for would-be lone-wolf attackers”.
Counter-terrorism police swooped in November last year, just before Mr Rashid planned to go to Syria to join ISIS terrorists there. When he threw a mobile telephone over a wall onto a police officer’s foot, and then appeared to faint.
On Friday, he pleaded guilty at Woolwich Crown Court to three counts of engaging in conduct in preparation of terrorist acts, and one count of engaging in conduct in preparation of terrorist acts. He must serve at least 25 years of his life sentence.
Chief Superintendent Will Chatterton from Counter Terrorism Policing North West said: “Rashid was a prolific poster on Telegram, a messaging and media platform which prides itself on never having provided law enforcement agencies with any user data…He is a prolific and dangerous individual. He has never been forthcoming with information about all of the attacks that he suggested, but we have worked closely with agencies across the world to share the intelligence that we have. We believe that Rashid was days away from travelling to Syria and are in no doubt that he would have continued to encourage others and promote his ideology. Today, Rashid has been sentenced to life in prison and will spend at least the next 25 years behind bars. He will no longer be able to spread hate and encourage senseless harm and killing. Today the world is just that little bit safer.”
Prosecutor Sue Hemming added: “Husnain Rashid is an extremist who not only sought to encourage others to commit attacks on targets in the West but was planning to travel aboard so he could fight himself. He tried to argue that he had not done anything illegal but with the overwhelming weight of evidence against him he changed his plea to guilty.”
We commend the police officers and prosecutors involved in this case for their vigilance in defending Britain from terrorism. This case is a stark reminder that Islamist terrorist consider the Jewish community to be a high-priority target.