A Muslim mother-of-six who posted pictures of her young children posing as jihadists on Facebook and advised an undercover policeman how to travel to Syria has been jailed for five years and three months.
Runa Khan, 35, from Luton, took pictures of her young son wearing a turban and holding a toy assault rifle and took another picture of him with a copy of a book by Abdullah Azzam, Osama bin Laden's mentor.
She also had photographs of her older, nine-year-old son and her teenage son holding a sword and posed with the same weapons herself, wearing a niqab.
The sunglasses are a good disguise!
Khan appeared for sentencing today wearing a full face veil and sunglasses at Kingston Crown Court, south west London, after she admitted four counts of distributing terrorist material.
Despite the length of her jail term, Metropolitan Police officers have refused to release her photo - and the force's press office would not say why, simply citing 'mitigating factors'.
Judge Peter Birts told her today: 'You appear to have no interest in the effect of radicalisation on your children having selfishly placed your own ideology and beliefs above their welfare in your priorities.
'You have shown no remorse for your actions and you are determined to follow your ideology whatever the cost to your liberty, and your family, including your children.'
Judge Birts said Khan was not only deeply radical herself, but a 'major radicaliser of others on Facebook, Whatsapp and other social media' and that the 'promotion of terrorism through the internet is a major potential concern'.
'Your purpose was to promote your own personal brand of violent Islam on the internet and to radicalise others, including very young children,' he added.
In interviews with probation officers she had been 'happy' to voice her support for suicide bombing, beheadings, stonings and amputations, the court heard.
The judge told Khan she was an 'avowed fundamental Islamist, holding radical and extreme beliefs' and that she had a 'violent ideology that espoused jihad as an essential part of the Islamist obligations'.
He said that her postings were designed to 'further your own deeply entrenched violent ideology and persuade others to violent action, including suicide, martyrdom and other violence'.
The instructions to mothers, accompanied by a picture of her youngest son, the judge said, was a 'highly detailed educational programme on how a mother could raise a child mentally and emotionally dedicated to armed jihad, raise mujahid children and encourage loved ones to participate in jihad.'
The court heard Khan had pledged to join another fighter called Nahin Ahmed, 22, in Syria as soon as she paid off her debts and he promised to find her a 'real man' in Syria.
An undercover police officer using the name 'Abdur Rahman' began communicating with her over Facebook and when he told her he wanted to go to Syria, Khan replied: 'When you are ready to go, let me know, I have the route,' which she then sent him.
The officer said his father would not let him go, but she told him: 'We don't need our parents' permission brother,' later adding he would need £2000 and saying: 'Just go.'
She told him she was £10,000 in debt and added: 'Well I'm gonna clear my debts and do one from here.'
Judge Peter Brits
Using the name 'Khawla Khattab' she had posted a picture of a suicide vest emblazoned with the words: 'Ishtishadee: sacrificing your life to benefit Islam.'
When she discovered that Abdur Rahman was an undercover officer, Khan told interviewing officers he was a 'two faced p****' and that she thought he held the same views as her, which she described as 'Going to Syria, helping the Syrian people fighting for Islam.'
She also posted a Youtube link to a BBC documentary called: 'Suicide Bomber is a Childhood Dream' and when a user from London called 'Joseph' queried the permissibility of suicide bombing, she wrote: 'But it's the most feared war tactic and most groups do it.'
On September 24 last year, Khan posted a picture of her son captioned: 'Zipping up my eight-year-old boy's jacket as he wants to play outside of a bit. I pictured the furture while I was zipping up his jacket. Inshallah [god willing] I'll be tying the shahada [martyrdom] bandana round his forehead and hand him his rifle and send him out to play the big boys game. AllahuAkbar [god is great].'
She had posted an article on Facebook called 'Raising Mujahid Children' which said mothers should show their children military books, CDs and videos to children 'as young as a couple of years or even younger.'
It said they should buy children a 'makeshift enemy, (could be a punchbag for instance) if you have to, and encourage children (especially boys) to use it and build their strength as well as to control and direct their anger.'
'If young children can learn the names of all the Pokemon characters, surely they can learn some basic terminology related to jihad,' it added.
DEFENCE LAWYER: ONLINE POSTS WERE 'EXTREMELY UNSOPHISTICATED'
Jo Sidhu QC, defending, said the mother-of-six was 'unrepentant' and had a 'deep, strong, unwavering and inflexible' way of thinking, but her crime was 'extremely unsophisticated'.
Since her arrest, she has been cautioned for assault after attacking her mother and sister at her mother’s house where she was on bail.
The court heard that a police officer was called and she 'seemed to be very erratic, behaving strangely and referring to blowing things up.'
A pre-sentence probation report found that she was an 'active advocate of suicide bomb attacks and intended to persuade others of that view,' adding: 'Her attitude is that anyone who thinks otherwise is wrong.'
But Judge Peter Birts said: 'The problem is that she is so radicalised and believes her own version of fundamentalism.'
Khan’s second marriage had fallen apart and her five older children were living with her mother, the court heard. She was said to have had a 'chaotic personal life' and to have had two 'deeply unhappy' relationships, the second of which involved domestic violence. Was she the abused or the abuser?
Khan suffers from pancreatitis, has been into hospital on five or six occasions in the last two years and recently had an operation on her bowel.
A defence psychologist said the children face 'major difficulties in the future whether or not their mother is jailed.'
The article said 'military training is a right of the children upon their parents' and added that 'sisters themselves also need to get military – firstly so that they can participate in jihad themselves and secondly so that they can train their sons and daughters for it.'
It added: 'Don’t underestimate the lasting effects of what those little ears take in during the first few years of life! No child is ever too young to be started off on jihad training in one form or another.
'Emphasise while disciplining young children that they are not to hit a Muslim but rather forgive and are only to take their anger out on the enemies of Allah who fight against Muslims.'
|Khan was jailed for five years and three months at Kingston Crown Court|
Police, who had become aware of Khan's online activities, searched her home in October 2013, seizing her iPhone.
On it they discovered records of WhatsApp chats she had been having with Ahmed since April in which Ahmed, an unemployed postal worker from Handsworth, Birmingham, used three different numbers, the latest in Syria.
He had left the country in May with a former schoolfriend, Yusuf Sarwar, who left behind a note for his mother, who then alerted police.
The pair stayed in Syria for eight months fighting with a group linked to al-Qaeda before they were persuaded to return by their families. Last week they were jailed for 12 years and eight months each.
At various points in the conversations Khan expressed a wish to travel to Syria herself and Ahmed told her to fly to Istanbul, catch a coach to Hatay and then get a taxi to Reyhanli, close to the border, adding: 'From der u gta stay low nd get ready to cross da borders. Allahu alam hw da situation will be.'
He advised her to join a group called Kateeb al-Muhajireen saying they were the 'ideal group' because they had the 'right aqeedah [faith]' and 'also a lot speak English.'
Although parts of the conversation had been deleted, screen shots setting out the entirety of the suggested route into Syria from Turkey were recovered by police from iPhone messages.
Khan talked about supplying Ahmed with a mobile phone and he asked if her husband approved but she said she had not told him.
Ahmed mentioned a 'Swedish bro,' apparently as a potential husband for Khan along with a link to a YouTube video entitled 'Shaheed Abu Kamal - English Version'
The video featured a Swedish jihadist who was killed in the fighting in Syria and included an image of a man called Khaled Shahadeh alongside Kamal, both armed and dressed in fatigues.
Sometime later that day, Ahmed messaged Khan telling her: 'Ill find u a husband I'll save one for u u wont get real man outside jihad I can tell whose fake n whose not.'
Two days before he left for Syria, Ahmed messaged Khan telling her: 'Make duaaaa [prayers] for me am packin up'. She replied: 'Keep in touch ok. You just relax now. Miss you loads xxx Soldier Nahin.'
The judge said he had jailed Khan for the maximum possible period under the Terrorism Act 2006. Normally seven years, it was discounted because of Khan’s guilty plea.
'I'M GONNA COME WITH MY LITTLE BOY': MESSAGES BETWEEN MOTHER-OF-SIX RUNA KHAN AND JIHADI NAHIN AHMED WHILE HE FOUGHT IN SYRIA
The court was read several messages between the pair, including on the free messaging service WhatsApp. They included:
June 24, 2013: From Ahmed to Khan: 'Lookin at syria Lol Haha'
June 25: 'Alot of egyption here'
June 27: 'Jus waitin for nxt stage. Food is less Buh Alhamdulilah (praise be to Allah) Haha I finishd trainun.'
Several photographs of Ahmed were recovered from Khan's phone as WhatsApp attachments and after receiving one she replied: 'You have lost weight dude.'
August 13: From Khan to Ahmed: 'Do you know how worried I was…I thought you were martyr'. He replied: 'Buh i weren't :( i hav like 10 days guardin ... n 7 day rest guardin 80-20m frm kuffar [non-believers].'
Khan asked for further pictures and Ahmed sent her a photograph of himself, sitting on a chair next to a pile of sandbags and flanked by guns on either side, asking her: 'u like my boots'?
She wanted to post the picture on Facebook, but Ahmed replied: 'shows my face too dangerous' then agreed she could do it 'privately' adding: 'lol [laughs out loud] crop my face or blacken it.'
Then he sent a caption to go with it: 'Make dua the mujahideens are defendin kuffar from getting into halab,' referring to the ancient name for Aleppo.
September 11: Ahmed recorded the death of one of one of his fellow fighters in Syria, telling Khan in a lengthy message about 'my brother Abu Dujana' who he prays Allah will accept as 'shaheed' – a martyr.
'A very brave bruda, always takin me wid hhim to shoot the kuffar, two days ago he took two other brudas insted of me nd I was put in guardin the door. While shootin like a brave mujahid a bullet hit his stomach nd he was onda ground nd we ran to him nd I saw his last words wer O Allah accept me as shaheed.'
September 13: Khan wrote: 'Trying to clear debt n join u…I'm gonna come with my little boy,' to which Ahmed replied: 'alottttt of brudas wwant marriage.'
Ahmed wanted to know if people were talking about him on Facebook and when Khan told him they weren't he replied, unconvincingly: 'Good I wanna remain unknown.'
September 18: Khan posted a message stating: 'Sisters, if you love your sons, husbands and brothers, prove it by sending them to fight for Allah. Don't you want them to enter Jannah [paradise]? Don't you want them to prepare for you a palace in Jannah?'
The next day she re-posted an article from another user called 'Sisters' role in jihad off the battlefield' about 'raising mujahid children' adding: 'Sisters this is excellent, read it inshallah.'
After a visit from police on an unrelated matter, Khan wrote that it was 'hard to trust anyone' and added: 'From now on please don't inbox me regarding jihad in Syria. I'm a peaceful Muslim who doesn't believe in killing people. My hobby is eating. If you want food recipes, you may ask me. As for jihad, do your own research.'
October 1: Ahmed advised Khan 'for knowin someone in Syria hmmm u shud b careful.'
October 6: Last message between the pair, when Ahmed told her: 'Ryt nw m on my way to Homs in shaa Allah' and Khan replied: 'I would love to come.'
When she asked how he was, he replied' 'things r fine
Kingston upon Thames is part of Greater London, southwest of the city centre.
|Of course, every sensible woman would want to leave here and go live in the Syrian desert|