Iftikhar Ali jailed over WhatsApp IS propaganda

Image source, Thames Valley Police

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Iftikhar Ali was working at Sainsbury's when he sent extremist material via WhatsApp

A man who shared propaganda on WhatsApp supporting the Islamic State group has been jailed.

Iftikhar Ali, 19, sent a string of audio files including one called "Oh Islamic State You Light the World", the Old Bailey heard.

Ali, who had claimed he was interested in the material for "research and curiosity purposes", was found guilty of 13 terror-related charges.

The former Sainsbury's worker was jailed for three-and-a-half years.

Judge Mark Dennis QC said it was impossible to establish if anyone had in fact been encouraged to commit terrorism by what Ali had done.

But he highlighted the potential harm, adding: "The young and impressionable are particularly susceptible to such propaganda."

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The court heard that Ali had "become a radicalised proponent and supporter of extreme Islamism"

Ali was said to be friends with London Bridge attacker Khuram Butt and convicted terrorist Taha Hussain, who was filmed driving past Windsor Castle shouting "Allahu akbar", the court heard.

The teenager was found to have sent a string of files on WhatsApp containing songs supporting IS.

Examination of his phone revealed he had an avid interest in the group and had audio files of radical preacher, Anwar al Awlaki.

Ali had been identified by the counter-terror programme Prevent in December 2015 but failed to engage with them, the Old Bailey was told.

He was arrested the following March over a Western Union payment of £140 sent to a man in Turkey, which Ali claimed in police interviews was for "charitable purposes".

The defendant had denied 12 counts of disseminating a terrorist document and one of possessing a document likely to be useful to a person committing an act of terrorism.

Judge Dennis said Ali would have received at least five-and-a-half years in jail if he had been an adult at the time of the offence.

He reduced the term in light of his youth.