Hussein Yusef, 21, arrived in Britain from Afghanistan at the age of 14, and attended the Oxford Spires Academy
A gifted student and keen cricketer from Oxford has been jailed for six and a half years after posting the personal details of more than 50 US military personnel onto Facebook after becoming a propagandist for ISIS.
Hussein Yusef, 21, arrived in Britain from Afghanistan at the age of 14, applied for asylum, and was brought up by foster parents in Oxford.
He had little English but made ‘remarkable progress’ at Oxford Spires Academy, gaining two A grades at GCSE, winning school prizes for business and product design, and volunteering to show parents around the school.
He captained the Under-16s school cricket team and also played for East Oxford and the Wayfarers cricket clubs.
His background mirrors that of Ahmed Hassan, the man charged with the failed Parson Green bombing, who was in foster care in Surrey.
‘This case is about the defendant’s journey from promising, respectful student to tireless supporter of one the most blinkered and brutal terrorist groups the world has ever known,’ Barnaby Jameson, prosecuting, told Kingston Crown Court.
‘In the period we are concerned about, the defendant became a prolific and apparently irrepressible propagandist for Islamic State.
‘The defendant embraced with open arms Islamic State’s uniquely twisted and fanatical view of the world [and] bought wholesale into Islamic State’s particular obsession with intolerance, sadism and murder.’
After leaving school, Yusef was offered a place studying criminology at Southampton University but his application for permanent leave to remain in Britain was rejected and he moved to London while he appealed the decision.
Sharing a room with two other men in a house in Kilburn, north London, Yusef began working for TK Maxx until his appeal failed and his refugee status was revoked.
He stayed in the country illegally but began working for Chicken Cottage in Willesden and Rooster Grill in Ladbroke Grove where he was said to be a ‘competent, hard-working employee.’
Four months later, on December 11 2015, he used a Facebook account to share a list of 56 names and addresses for US military personnel that had been hacked by a group calling itself the Cyber Caliphate Army.
It included email addresses, home addresses across the United States including New York, Washington, Texas and California, along with their bases including Virginia, North Carolina and Hawaii.
He used a Facebook account to share a list of 56 names and addresses for US military personnel that had been hacked by a group calling itself the Cyber Caliphate Army
Yusef added the hashtags ‘US Army pigs completely hacked’ and ‘AnonyDogs’ and wrote: ‘All praise to Allah alone.’
The list had appeared just one minute earlier on another Facebook page called Khilafah News [Caliphate News], for which Yusef appeared to be the administrator.
It had almost 1,000 ‘likes’ and described itself as an ‘Islamic State bulletin.’
The page included a sub-section called the ‘Hijrah Committee’ which gave advice to individuals seeking to join ISIS.
Mr Jameson said it was ‘unadulterated IS propaganda, plain and simple.’
The details of serving military personal were ’emblazoned across the internet for all to see’, Mr Jameson said, adding it was information ‘putting those whose personal details were leaked in a clear and present danger of terrorist reprisals.’
‘The defendant’s motives were clear, were they not?’ he said.
From his bedroom he set up five Facebook accounts to fight what was described as an ‘ISIS propaganda war’, ranting against homosexuality, Shia Muslims, The United States and ‘Kuffar’.
In December 2015 he wrote ‘if a kafir does not see you as a threat to his safety then you know you have something wrong with the way you practise the Deen [religion].’
In March 2016 he changed his Facebook cover photo to a quote ‘The Islamic State: a state for all Muslims, so let’s participate together to build and protect it’.
One of the videos he posted was titled ‘Ramadan Under the Shades of the Khalifah’, showing IS fighters attacking the Syrian Army.
He also shared a photo of a killed ISIS commander called Essa Al-Laqtta Abu Aisha, writing below ‘may Allah accept him, he achieved the ultimate s
Police found Google searches on his computer ‘Kill Kuffar in the same way they have killed u quran’ and ‘retaliation against the kuffar quran’, Kingston Crown Court heard
Police found Google searches on his computer ‘Kill Kuffar in the same way they have killed u quran’ and ‘retaliation against the kuffar quran.’
After the Paris and Brussels attacks he called on other Muslims to study the Quran to ‘learn why those attacks were 100% right’.
He also boasted on encrypted social media app, Telegram, that he had attended a protest outside the Israeli embassy with a homemade poster saying ‘Hitler you were right.’
Yusef was jailed for six and a half years for making a record of terrorist information, and three years concurrently for encouraging terrorism and disseminating terrorist publications.
With long hair and wearing a smart grey suit and dark tie, he rubbed his eyes as the sentence was delivered.
Yussef slumped in his chair as Judge Paul Dodgson told him: ‘You’re now 21 years old, and you came to this country in 2010.
‘Teachers at school said you were delightful to teach and eager to learn, charming and delightful.
‘By September 2015 you asylum application had failed and all avenues of appeal were closed to you.
‘By then that boy from school had been transformed into an enthusiastic supporter of ISIS.
‘I believe it’s likely that if you were not the spreadsheet’s author you were closely linked to the person who was.
‘The material contained the names and addresses of members of US armed forces.
‘The effects of your actions were considerable.
‘The danger posed by that post was considerable and you knew that your audience had a number of people who were in touch with those capable of carrying out attacks.
‘You knew that you were putting out on the internet personal details that could place those individuals in a great deal of peril.
‘It seems to me that this is one of the most serious examples of this offence.
‘It may be that you didn’t think through your actions, but that would have been of little relevance to the families of those servicemen who might have been murdered as a result of your actions.’