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Former WAG and beauty queen, 21, who married Islamist fighter goes on trial

Former WAG Amaani Noor (pictured above) has denied one count of funding terrorism

A one-time WAG and former beauty queen whose dream was ‘to marry a fighter’ has gone on trial accused of funding terrorism.

Amaani Noor is accused of providing money to a group called ‘The Merciful Hands’.

The 21-year-old, a former Miss Teen Great Britain semi-finalist, is alleged to have given £35.92 to the organisation, which funded anti-government fighters in Syria.

Liverpool Crown Court heard how Noor had contacted another woman, Victoria Webster, to arrange a Paypal transfer on May 23, 2018.

Diana Wilson, prosecuting, told the court that Noor had sent ‘extensive messages showing interest in and support for extremist organisations’ and her husband is an Islamist fighter.

Noor, who once dated a Liverpool winger, also showed support for Sharia law and discussed the ‘merits’ of IS, it’s claimed.

The 21-year-old (pictured above outside court earlier this year) was alleged to have provided around £35 to The Merciful Hands

The 21-year-old (pictured above outside court earlier this year) was alleged to have provided around £35 to The Merciful Hands 

Phones seized from her home showed she’d used an app called Telegram, which allows users to engage in encrypted chats, leave voice notes, make calls and send files.

She’d contacted Webster, who used the name @iwouldliketobeunknown, in April, last year, and also followed a Merciful Hands channel using the app, as well as those of other organisations including Insights in Sham.

Ms Wilson said the pair discussed ‘the merits of the proscribed organisations HTS (Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham) and IS (Islamic State) and which group is closest to Haqq (the truth).’

Webster sent Noor two links to a Telegram channel related to extremist preacher Anwar Al-Awlaki as well as a voice note which said ‘it is OK to kill apostates [non-believers] by the Sharia and they have to be killed and you are obliged to kill them’.

Noor later sent Webster a voice note saying she ‘hasn’t got a problem with people being killed justly if they refuse to do certain things according to Islam’.

The pair were also found to have extremist videos showing tortures and executions, the court heard.

One video on Noor’s devices showed an ambush on a desert highway, vehicles being shot, and the captured occupants being brutally tortured and executed.

Another showed a man having his throat cut and then being beheaded, while an IS propaganda video showed people in orange jumpsuits apparently about to be executed.

Noor also contacted a man she referred to as ‘Hakim my Love’ on Telegram and he later sent her a message declaring it his ‘first as her husband’.

He described himself as an ‘independent fighter’ and urges her not to ‘say anything stupid over the internet cos I can bring you a lot of problems’.

Ms Wilson told the court that the Merciful Hands Telegram channel contained references to ‘brothers’ needing barudas (guns or rifles), clothing and other equipment for the war in Syria.

Webster and Noor exchanged several messages about sending money to Islamist fighters before Noor set-up a Paypal account using the name Margaret Allen, from which she made the $45.51 payment to the group, it’s claimed.

She’s said to have asked whether the money would go to ‘a fighter’ or ‘an ex-fighter who has a family’.

Noor was arrested in November, last year, and emails on two mobiles seized by anti-terror police showed she had considered travelling to Syria to join her fighter husband but was having second thoughts.

‘I hate talking like this cause its like ERM amaani girl you should’ve thought about all this before, and I did trust me I knew what I was getting myself into,’ she wrote.

‘Its been my dream to marry a fighter for a long time and my dream to be a fighter myself even longer lol.’

Noor from Wavertree, Liverpool, denies one count of terrorism fundraising.

According to the charge, she gave the money ‘knowing or having reasonable cause to suspect it may be used for the purpose of terrorism’.

She refused to comment in police interviews but later claimed in statements that she believed the money was going to the ‘victims of civil war such as women and children’.

‘I believed the donation was for humanitarian aid. I saw the images of poor looking children and women with basic necessities on the Merciful Hands telegram channel,’ she said.

Co-accused Victoria Webster, 28, from Lancashire, previously admitted three counts of terrorism fundraising between March and August last year.

She pleaded guilty in June to inviting Noor to provide money to the Merciful Hands, ‘intending it should be used or having reasonable cause to suspect it may be used for the purpose of terrorism’.

Webster also admitted giving the same group £17.97 ($22.77) between April 22 and May 6, and £29.34 ($37.24) between March 24 and August 14.

She’s due to sentenced following Noor’s trial.


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