Dad ‘planned to fight for Islamic State in Syria’ - court told

Smoke rises above the Syrian town of Kobani during fighting between Islamic State and Kurdish forces (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
Smoke rises above the Syrian town of Kobani during fighting between Islamic State and Kurdish forces (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

A dad’s plans to fight alongside the Islamic State in Syria were put on hold when his wife got pregnant with their sixth child, a court heard.

Mohammed Kahar led a “normal life” to outward appearances but harboured a desire to engage and convince others to join in ‘holy war’, it is claimed.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the 37-year-old Muslim, of Burnville Road, Sunderland, who worked as a chef and had a business interest in a local restraurant, had already been in touch with a travel agent to inquire about prices for the trip.

Using a variety of social media applications and a selection of different aliases, Kahar promoted the banned terror group Islamic State and vowed to fund those already engaged in fighting.

Kahar had considered going to Syria both with and without his children and boasted “the government pays” when asked by online contacts who would support his family if he went alone.

He had made indepth inquiries about transport links via Turkey and questioned the use of taxis, buses and planes.

Prosecutor Anne Whyte QC told the court: “This man wanted to go and prepared to go to Syria. He used the internet to invite others to support IS and to do the same thing.

“It is clear his wife’s sixth pregnancy had rather disrupted his intentions in this regard.

“He didn’t feel as if he could leave when she was pregnant or shortly after the birth of his child.”

Kahar denies 11 terrorism offences including preparation of terrorist acts, funding arrangement, support for a proscribed organisation, collection of information and dissemination of terrorist publications.

He is being tried by a jury.

Miss Whyte told jurors there is no suggestion Kahar, who had a document on how to prepare explosives among his collection, would have committed terrorist acts in the UK.

She added: “He is accused of collecting and disseminating terrorist publications, of entering into an arrangement to fund another for a terrorist purpose and of preparing to travel to Syria in order to in order to join IS and commit acts of terrorism there by fighting alongside the self-styled IS.”

Kahar was arrested when his home was raided on March 4 and his iPhone and iPad were seized, both of which contained a significant number of documents in relation to violent jihad and Islamic State.

His phone contained a total of 56 documents and evidence of his conversations over Facebook, Whatsapp, KIK Messenger, Surespot messenger and Telegram messenger.

He used social media and email to send pictures, videos, songs, documents and pages.

His internet search history and bookmarks included subjects such as captured journalists, links to the IS generated magazine, IS material and Jihadist material.

He had also accessed and shared IS recruitment videos, one of which has been played in court.

Kahar said during one internet posting “Support IS, support me otherwise you are not a true Muslim.”

During online discussions, including some with his own nephew, he branded those who refused to back IS “coconut Muslims” and encouraged support for the outlawed terror group.

Kahar told one online user: “Believe what you want when IS take control of the world then u will be on your own.”

And he told his own brother on WhatsApp: “Look after my family when I’m gone”.

Kahar told detectives some of his discussions were jokes and some were just for debate.

Miss Whyte added: “This type of dialogue is self-evident. It is not the conduct of a modern Mulsim agonising over the interpretation of his faith.

“It is the conduct of a modern Muslim seeking out assistance and guidance about getting to the front line with IS.”

Kahar denies all charges.

The trial continues.