LONDON: A man whose two sons died fighting in Syria has been found guilty of encouraging terrorism after urging jihad “by sword” at a mosque in Brighton, southeast England.
Abubaker Deghayes, 53, was convicted at the Old Bailey following a trial, the Independent reported.
Deghayes, originally Libyan, made a stabbing gesture as he addressed a congregation of about 50 people at the Brighton Mosque and Muslim Community Center on Nov. 1, 2020 after evening prayers.
He told worshipers at the mosque “jihad is fighting by sword” and is compulsory, prosecutor Ben Lloyd told the jury.
“That means this jihad is compulsory upon you, not jihad is the word of mouth but jihad will remain compulsory until the Day of Resurrection,” Deghayes said in a video of the speech played to the court.
Lloyd told jurors that the speech was not given “innocently or naively.”
“The prosecution case is clear. By the defendant’s words and gestures he was encouraging people to undertake violent jihad.
“The defendant’s speech demonstrates him to be an Islamic extremist. He is someone who believes in the use of violence in the cause of Islam.
“Or, at the very least, he was reckless in giving his speech as to whether people would be encouraged,” Lloyd said.
Deghayes denied wrongdoing, saying he was explaining the meaning of “jihad by the sword” as self-defense.
The gesture he made was a “dance of the blade,” he claimed.
The judge presiding over the case said he was considering immediate custody for Deghayes, who will be sentenced on Feb. 25.
The defendant has been bailed with conditions to stay at his home address on an electronically monitored curfew. He is required to report to a police station three times a week.
Deghayes has been told not to attend the Brighton Mosque and Muslim Community Center and instructed to surrender his passport and not to apply for travel documents.
Two of Deghayes’ sons were killed fighting for extremists in Syria and he lost a third when a convicted drug dealer stabbed him to death in Brighton in February 2019.
A fourth son is understood to be in Syria.