Jihadi Who Blamed Crime on Imaginary Dog Jailed

A wanna-be Jihadi who tried to claim a video inciting terrorism was practice for commanding a dog he didn’t have has been jailed.

Shehroz Iqbal, of Ilford, east London, had shared video footage to the extremist WhatsApp group ‘Dark to Light’, taking in footage of Waterloo Bridge, the Royal Festival Hall, and Haywards Gallery in London, saying “This my spot Akhi [brothers], central London. Attack, attack!”

‘Dark to Light’ featured extremist posts celebrating the 18th anniversary of the September 11th terror attacks (“Happy 9/11, it’s a sweet 18 party”) and disparaging moderate Muslim clerics as “grave-worshipping dogs”, among other disturbing content, according to court reporters.

Iqbal, however, claimed that the “Attack, attack” video he shared with the group was innocent, and that he was merely practising commands for a German shepherd dog he did not actually own, but hoped to get one day.

He claimed he had owned a similar dog, named Rocky, when he lived in Pakistan — which would be fairly unusual for an Islamic extremist, who consider dogs “unclean”.

Judge Philip Katz said Iqbal’s “explanation to the police for making the video was absurd.”

The judge also took Iqbal, who had also shared video featuring dead bodies of Islamic State jihadists on the attack in Iraq, to task for his other excuses for his offending, saying:  “You blame your offending on everything from drugs to mental issues to your difficulties opening a bank account, and most ironically to you being the subject of racism. The irony being your own overt racism, some of it towards other Muslims.”

At the time of his offending, Iqbal had already been “serving” a suspended sentence for putting up antisemitic posters outside a synagogue, which had included a requirement to attend a deradicalisation programme — which was obviously not effective.

“From the evidence of those who have tried to help and the content of your WhatsApp communications, I am sure that when dealing with the authorities you will say whatever you think suits you better at the time,” the judge remarked.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has previously admitted that “really very few” radical Islamic terrorists can be rehabilitated after freed terrorist Sudesh Amman stabbed multiple people in Streatham, London, just days after his automatic early release.

Iqbal was given a nine-year sentence, but will only have to serve six of them in custody, with a shorter sentence related to cocaine dealing to be served consecutively.

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