A Good Heart Feargal Sharkey
27 July 2015, 18:22
A would-be jihadi bride had ``intense'' Skype chats with a young man from Birmingham as she helped him on his way to fight in Syria - despite never meeting him, a court heard.
Angela Shafiq, 22, from Hounslow, Middlesex, is on trial at the Old Bailey accused of giving advice to Mohammed Nahin Ahmed before he left to join rebels in the war-torn country.
In May 2013, Ahmed and his friend Yusuf Sarwar travelled from the UK to Syria, via Turkey, in order to join the ranks of Islamist rebels fighting the Assad regime.
The pair were arrested on their return in January last year and later pleaded guilty to an offence of preparation of terrorist acts, the court heard.
Under the username live:a.flores, Shafiq had a series of Skype conversations with Ahmed - or Neon Salam - over five months between December 2012 and May 2013, the court heard.
Prosecutor Christopher Hehir QC said: ``Although as I have said the two of them never met, the conversations between Angela Shafiq and Nahin Ahmed were quite intense at times.
``They discussed the possibility of marriage, and of Angela Shafiq herself travelling to Syria.
``A continuing issue in the conversations was the fact that Angela Shafiq's mother, quite understandably you may think, would not allow her to go to Syria.''
In January 2013, Ahmed told her he wanted to be a ``mujahid'' or warrior and Shafiq replied that she prayed ``Allah gives you the pleasure of being shaheed (martyr)''.
The following day, she expressed a wish he would come back for her so they could go to Syria together and he responded: ``Lol I'll prbly be deaddddd I cant cme bk ill get arrested Guaranteed Dats y. I talked to a Swedish brudaa who went syriaa. He said da battles get addictive.''
When she spoke of going to Birmingham to see him, Ahmed put her off, saying: ``Nhh dnt cme ere lool I'll get copped.
``Ppl kno me aha I'll cme London Plus ama book flight at heathrow Ur nxt door neighbour. I gtta hit Turkey Frm der Thruu Syriaa.''
On January 7 2013 Ahmed told Shafiq of his plan to go to Syria via Turkey with a friend who he said he was training because he was ``a bit chubby''.
Mr Hehir said: ``This was clearly a reference to Yusuf Sarwar, who was a bit on the chubby side when he left to travel to Syria - he had lost quite a bit of weight by the time he came back to the UK.''
He told the jury that Shafiq helped Ahmed by giving him advice on renewing his passport and suggesting he do a first aid course - ``like in case u get stopped at borders u can show that certificate nd say ur going there to help the ppl.''
The chats tailed off in February 2013 after Ahmed had told Shafiq that he had received a message from an alternative marriage candidate who wanted to go to Syria.
Three months later, Ahmed tried to contact her as he was about to fly to Turkey, saying he had phoned her twice from his hotel in Heathrow but got no answer.
The next day, she sent him a lengthy reply begging his forgiveness, saying that she was ``crying a lot'' and ``didn't want my emotions to hit you''.
Mr Hehir said: ``It is clear from the conversation that Angela Shafiq herself at the very least believed Nahin Ahmed was not planning to go to Syria for humanitarian purposes.
``She was trying to help him pretend that he was going to Syria for humanitarian purposes, but was in fact fully aware that he was actually planning to go in order to fight - in other words, to engage in what the law defines as terrorism.''
Shafiq denies the charge of preparation of terrorist acts between January 1 2013 and May 16 2013. The trial continues.