LONDON: A British-Muslim extremist has been jailed for 19 years after being found guilty of plotting a solo knife attack during the pandemic lockdown.
Sahayb Abu, who was unemployed, was arrested last summer after he bought an 18-inch knife, a sword, balaclavas and body armor online.
Abu denied the plot, arguing in court that he wanted to use his purchases to be a rapper like Stormzy, who wore body armor on stage at Glastonbury.
But he was found guilty last month, with his defense failing to stand up to evidence produced by the prosecution that he had discussed his terror plans with an undercover police officer on the Telegram app.
It will not be his first stint in prison, having spent two years behind bars for a commercial robbery where he was known to associate with extremists.
Dubbed the “rapping jihadi,” Abu described London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who is Muslim, as a “sell-out,” and talked about murdered soldier Lee Rigby.
Abu said: “I’m trying to see many Lee Rigby’s heads rolling on the ground. Man I shoot up a crowd cos I’m a night stalker. Got my shank, got my guns. Straight ISIS (Daesh) supporter. Reject democracy.”
Many of Abu’s relatives had previous links to violent extremism. His brother, sister and brother-in-law were jailed for collecting and disseminating terrorist documents online.
His half-brothers Wail and Suleyman Aweys traveled to Syria to join Daesh in 2015. They were believed to have been killed while fighting for the terror group.
In his sentencing hearing on Tuesday, Judge Mark Dennis QC told Abu: “You of all people, having seen what befell your two younger brothers when they signed up to join the ISIS cause in 2015, and having seen the course other members of your family have taken … resulting in prison sentences, should have made you, at the mature age of 27, turn your back on the violent extremist cause and promote instead peace and community that underlies the Islamic faith.”
The judge added: “Instead, within weeks of your own release, you joined others committed to joining that same cause. Within no time, you were getting ready to carry out your own act of violence on the streets of this city (London).”
He said he was sure that Abu was prepared for a solo knife attack, and would have carried it out had the police not intervened.
The judge added: “All that remained for him (Abu) to decide was the time and place for him to carry out the act of violence in furtherance of the cause he supported.”