An Afghan who was brought up by foster parents in Oxford has been jailed for six and a half years after becoming a propagandist for Islamic State.
Hussein Yusef, 21, arrived in Britain at 14 and applied for asylum. He spoke little English but made “remarkable progress” at Oxford Spires Academy, earning two As at GCSE and winning prizes for business and product design.He captained the under-16s school cricket team and played for East Oxford and the Wayfarers cricket clubs.
Barnaby Jameson, prosecuting, told Kingston Crown Court. 'In the period we are concerned about, the defendant became a prolific and apparently irrepressible propagandist for Islamic State. The defendant embraced with open arms Islamic State's uniquely twisted and fanatical view of the world [and] bought wholesale into Islamic State's particular obsession with intolerance, sadism and murder.'
After leaving school, Yusef was offered a place studying criminology at Southampton University but his application for permanent leave to remain in Britain was rejected and he moved to London while he appealed the decision. . .his appeal failed and his refugee status was revoked.
He stayed in the country illegally but began working for Chicken Cottage in Willesden and Rooster Grill in Ladbroke Grove where he was said to be a 'competent, hard-working employee.'
Four months later, on December 11 2015, he used a Facebook account to share a list of 56 names and addresses for US military personnel that had been hacked by a group calling itself the Cyber Caliphate Army. It included email addresses, home addresses across the United States including New York, Washington, Texas and California, along with their bases including Virginia, North Carolina and Hawaii.
Yusef added the hashtags 'US Army pigs completely hacked' and 'AnonyDogs' and wrote: 'All praise to Allah alone.'
The list had appeared just one minute earlier on another Facebook page called Khilafah News [Caliphate News], for which Yusef appeared to be the administrator. It had almost 1,000 'likes' and described itself as an 'Islamic State bulletin.' The page included a sub-section called the 'Hijrah Committee' which gave advice to individuals seeking to join ISIS.
Mr Jameson said it was 'unadulterated IS propaganda, plain and simple.'
From his bedroom he set up five Facebook accounts to fight what was described as an 'ISIS propaganda war', ranting against homosexuality, Shia Muslims, The United States and 'Kuffar'. In December 2015 he wrote 'if a kafir does not see you as a threat to his safety then you know you have something wrong with the way you practise the Deen [religion].'
In March 2016 he changed his Facebook cover photo to a quote 'The Islamic State: a state for all Muslims, so let's participate together to build and protect it'. One of the videos he posted was titled 'Ramadan Under the Shades of the Khalifah', showing IS fighters attacking the Syrian Army.
Police found Google searches on his computer 'Kill Kuffar in the same way they have killed u quran' and 'retaliation against the kuffar quran.' After the Paris and Brussels attacks he called on other Muslims to study the Quran to 'learn why those attacks were 100% right'.
He also boasted on encrypted social media app, Telegram, that he had attended a protest outside the Israeli embassy with a homemade poster saying 'Hitler you were right.'
With long hair and wearing a smart grey suit and dark tie, he rubbed his eyes as the sentence was delivered. Yussef slumped in his chair as Judge Paul Dodgson told him:
'You're now 21 years old, and you came to this country in 2010. Teachers at school said you were delightful to teach and eager to learn, charming and delightful. By September 2015 you asylum application had failed and all avenues of appeal were closed to you. By then that boy from school had been transformed into an enthusiastic supporter of ISIS.
'I believe it's likely that if you were not the spreadsheet's author you were closely linked to the person who was. The material contained the names and addresses of members of US armed forces.The effects of your actions were considerable. The danger posed by that post was considerable and you knew that your audience had a number of people who were in touch with those capable of carrying out attacks. You knew that you were putting out on the internet personal details that could place those individuals in a great deal of peril.
'It seems to me that this is one of the most serious examples of this offence.