A teenage girl accused of plotting an attack on the British Museum in London said she was drawn to Syria after facing discrimination in the UK, a court has heard. Giving evidence to the Old Bailey, Safaa Boular, 18, said people called her names like "ninja, umbrella and postbox" because of her Islamic dress.
Ms Boular, from Vauxhall in south-west London, is accused of two counts of preparing acts of terrorism. She denies both charges. . . Ms Boular's defence lawyer, Joel Bennathan QC, says the teenager, who was then aged 17, was "groomed" by her fiancé, Naweed Hussain, and her family encouraged it.
(She) said her Islamic State lover encouraged her to launch an attack in the UK three times. The court heard how Safaa Boular was 16 when she met Hussain and went on to have what she regarded as an online Islamic marriage in 2016.
When she was stopped by police from joining him, Hussain urged her to drop out of school and do an attack in the UK instead, the Old Bailey heard.
Boular told jurors: “Around November (2016) he proposed to me about an attack at Christmas. He asked me if I was scared of being in an attack and I told him yes I am. Then he went back to the same usual lovey-dovey topics.”
Asked how he reacted when Boular rebuffed the idea, she said: “He did not mind. I just went back to the same conversation we had before, romantic, sweet. . . He told me if he died first I would not be able to cope with the news of his death so it would be better if I died first. But when I told him I was scared he just dropped the topic.”
He raised the prospect again in early 2017, she said: “He suggested I could do something on Valentine’s Day. Again I refused. I assumed it was the usual stuff he talked about before, like car or knife attacks.”
The 18-year-old chatted to Hussain via encrypted Telegram messages on a secret mobile phone she bought at Brixton Market. She would communicate with him in her school sixth form lounge and at home in her bedroom and bathroom, she said.
She said: “Naweed asked me to send pictures of my body which I did. Initially I did not want to because I am a shy person but as my husband I did not think there was any problem being intimate with him.” Hussain also sent her explicit photographs of himself and told Boular to watch “X-rated material”, the court heard.
This is what she was all lovey-dovey over. Not what I would imagine for a teenage girl, even a strictly reared sheltered Muslima who doesn't meet many real boys. Surely the actors from Bollywood set a higher standard for the romantic dream? But, for every pot there is a lid.
Actually, you can tell he was a foolish ole romantic - he has a pillion seat for her on his bike. Not many machines do these days.
Boular told jurors that after Hussain died in a drone strike, it was an emotional time but she had coped. She denied talking to her sister about her attack plans under the guise of a party, while she was in custody at Medway Secure Training Centre.
Wonder if he was grooming anyone else at the same time.
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