Northern Ireland news

Co Tyrone Muslim convert (34) among those to be sentenced over 'Islamic State' plan

Trainee maths teacher Lorna Moore (34) was accused of planning to take her three young children to Syria
Emily Pennink, PA

A MUSLIM convert, originally from Co Tyrone, who allegedly wanted bring up her children under the Islamic State in Syria is among a group facing jail today.

Trainee maths teacher Lorna Moore (34) was accused of planning to take her three young children to the war zone - including an 11-month-old baby.

Around the same time, a number of pregnant women from the same community were poised to give birth in the Caliphate.

Following an Old Bailey trial, Moore, from Walsall, West Midlands, was found guilty of failing to tell authorities her husband Sajid Aslam (34) was about to leave for Syria.

The jury also convicted Ayman Shaukat (28) of preparing terrorist acts by helping Aslam and Muslim convert Alex Nash (22) on their way.

The pair will be sentenced later alongside Nash and Kerry Thomason (24) who was pregnant when she was stopped from flying out with her two children to join her husband in Syria.

At the time of Aslam's departure in August 2014, Moore had taken the rest of the family on a Butlin's holiday in Skegness.

The day after dropping him off at the airport, Shaukat sent a photograph of himself on his mobile phone posing with the IS flag, the court heard.

As Aslam crossed into Syria, he sent a triumphant coded message back to Shaukat in the form of a video link to a song called I Made It by Cash Money Heroes.

Within months, Moore had booked flights to Palma, Majorca, but the prosecution said her final destination was given away in a text from Nash's pregnant wife in Turkey saying "see you there".

But giving evidence, Moore said she would "never" put her children's lives in danger, adding: "They mean the world to me."

Her relationship with Aslam ended after he became abusive and they only lived together for the sake of the children who are now aged three, nine and 10, the court heard.

She told jurors that when she turned to a Muslim cleric for a divorce, he told her that a "white Muslim is not a special Muslim" and she must take her husband back.

Shaukat, of Pargeter Street, Walsall, denied helping his friends join IS by dropping Aslam and Nash off at airports.

The convicted burglar and law degree graduate was nicknamed Karma Chameleon because he presented different versions of himself to jurors and his home in the Caldmore area in Walsall is known locally as Karma.

He described IS as "evil" and said that he had told MI5 he would "assist in any way I could" after agents contacted him as treasurer of the community group Islam Walsall.

Jurors were told about other members of the West Midlands group who allegedly set off for Syria between July and December 2014.

The first to join IS was Muslim convert, Jake Petty (25) also known as Abu Yaqoob Britany.

His Christian minister mother Sue Boyce wept as she told jurors how she begged him not to go and later had to identify his body from video footage on social media after he was killed in December 2014.

Petty was swiftly followed by former schoolmate Isaiah Siadatan (24) whose pregnant wife Thomason was prevented from joining him.

The court heard he had sent her an email in December 2014 insisting that she should bring their children to him in IS.

Siadatan is believed to have been killed in the summer of 2015, although his death is unconfirmed.

Thomason has previously pleaded guilty to assisting her husband in preparation of his terrorist acts.

Nash and his pregnant wife Yousma Jan (20) were arrested by Turkish authorities and sent back to the UK.

He took sole responsibility for the plan and admitted preparing acts of terrorism, while a charge against Jan was discontinued.

Judge Charles Wide QC will sentence the group at the Old Bailey later.

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