LONDON: A known British extremist has been jailed for sharing a video glorifying terrorism on the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.
Shakil Chapra, known by his alias Abu Haleema, has links to other notorious UK terrorists, including London Bridge attacker Khuram Butt and hate preacher Anjem Choudary, through Chapra’s membership of the banned Al-Muhajiroun (ALM) group.
On Friday, Chapra, 43, was sentenced to two and a half years behind bars, with an additional 12 months on license, meaning he will be released but face restrictions to his freedom.
“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,” the judge told Chapra, who admitted guilt to disseminating a terrorist publication in March. “From at least 2013, when you joined ALM, you have held extreme Islamic views.”
Last November, Chapra was arrested for his links to known British extremist Shehroz Iqbal, 29, who last year was jailed for eight and a half years after being found guilty of encouraging terrorism.
Iqbal was part of a WhatsApp group that included Chapra, in which Iqbal had made a video inciting other members to attack London’s Royal Albert Hall concert venue. He posted the video alongside the words: “Attack, attack.”
In other messages in that same group chat, Chapra posted a video on Sept. 11, 2019, 18 years after the 9/11 terror attacks.
The clip, around one and a half minutes long, features the leader of Boko Haram, a Daesh-aligned African terror group, who gives a speech in which he discusses kidnapping school children before firing his gun into the air.
Chapra wrote “I will show you the most gangster Nigerian,” and following the video posted a 100% emoji and three flame emojis, which prosecutors said was an endorsement of the terrorist’s message.
Other messages sent by the group’s 22 members included “happy 9/11” and “sweet 18 party.” Chapra boasted of links with Choudary, having “studied with Anjem back in the day.”
Following his arrest Chapra, who also sent extremist messages on Telegram to over 230 members of another channel, has since distanced himself from Daesh.
“I used to buy into Isis (Daesh) but not anymore ... You say September last year, I don’t support 9/11,” he said.
But prosecutor Alistair Richardson said Chapra “remains a committed and highly concerning extremist,” adding: “The defendant holds and continues to hold extreme Islamic views, he has held those views for some years.”
Chapra also has links to Butt, 27, who alongside two associates killed eight people and injured dozens in a van attack in London.
Chapra appeared alongside Butt in a 2016 Channel 4 documentary that followed the lives of Daesh supporters in the UK. The two were seen praying in front of a black flag associated with Daesh.