Radicalised Birmingham brothers plotted to join ISIS from their bedroom

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Muhammad Haleem Khan, 21, and Muhammad Hamzah Khan, 18, from Ward End in Birmingham have been jailed for 18 years

Two radicalised brothers who plotted to join ISIS from their bedroom and threatened former Prime Minister David Cameron have been jailed for a total of 18 years.

Muhammad Haleem Khan 21, and Muhammad Hamzah Khan, 18, were "ready to become martyrs" and bought clothes and equipment to travel to Afghanistan.

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A court heard they plotted to join, fight and die for ISIS and completed application forms to join the banned terrorist organisation.

The siblings were also found to have encouraged others to 'shed' the blood of non-believers, as well as threatened Mr Cameron, who is now Foreign Secretary.

The brothers previously admitted to engaging in conduct in preparation for terrorism at Birmingham Crown Court. Today (Friday, November 24) Haleem Khan was jailed for 10 years while Hamzah Khan was sentenced to eight years in a young offenders institution.

Muhammad Haleem KhanMuhammad Haleem Khan
Muhammad Haleem Khan | West Midlands CTU

Sentencing, Judge Melbourne Inman KC said: "During 2022 each of you became increasingly radicalised and held extreme religious and ideological views so that you decided to travel to Afghanistan to join and support terrorist activity.

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"Specifically, you intended to join Islamic State Khorasan Province. There was a wealth of material before the jury that demonstrated the nature and extremity of your views. It is clear you supported the views of Islamic State and the use of extreme violence against those who did not.

"You recorded videos of yourselves looking forward to the day when you would go into battle against those who did not share your beliefs. Hamza sought out the radical cleric Anjem Choudury. It is clear you intended to travel to Afghanistan to fight for and support terrorism and die in so doing if necessary.

"Each of you had recent possession of a substantial quantity of extremist material and were in contact with and encouraged other extremists."

The judge said he had taken into account that they were "indoctrinated" in their extreme views by older people and the internet provided easy access to those influences.

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The court heard the pair lived with their parents and other siblings at an address in Ward End, Birmingham, and they had become increasingly radicalised in 2022.

Preparing to travel to Afghanistan

Harpreet Sandhu KC, prosecuting, said "They had prepared to travel to Afghanistan so they could join and support terrorist activity. They intended to be part of a terrorist organisation known as Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP).

"The defendants prepared for joining in and supporting terrorist activity including the purchasing of clothing and equipment, conducting research into how they might travel to Afghanistan, including obtaining travel documents, and their preparations included completing application forms to join Islamic State. "There was a wealth of material that showed that the defendants had extremist mind sets. They had a keen interest in Islamic State's activities, had sympathies with Islamic State and they intended to become martyrs."

He said that their plans were advanced and sophisticated and that they were "interested to ensure that they were physically fit to engage in Jihad."

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Muhammad Hamzah Heyder Khan Muhammad Hamzah Heyder Khan
Muhammad Hamzah Heyder Khan | West Midladns Counter Terrorism Unit

In preparation they renewed their passports, had taken steps to learn Arabic and Pashto and police found items "placed in luggage in readiness for travel."

Mr Sandhu said that the brothers had also been in contact with a member of Islamic State to facilitate them joining the organisation.

He added: "Hamza was in contact with others who were similarly minded to travel to Afghanistan. They discussed their preparations for Jihad. There was mutual encouragement."

Mr Sandhu said Haleem had also emptied his bank account in readiness for the trip "which demonstrated he did not intend to return." A message sent by Hamza was read to the court, in which he said: "I cannot wait for the day when we are in battle."

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The court was told the pair used encrypted messaging app Telegram and had material on their phones promoting Jihad.

Arrested in the bedroom they shared in Birmingham

The brothers were arrested in the bedroom they shared at their home on November 2 last year with police seizing a number of electronic devices.

Matthew Sherratt, defending the older brother said "He was a naïve and immature young man who was drawn into the rhetoric of Islamic State propaganda.

"He understands the terrible mistake he has made. He bears the burden of the shame and scrutiny he has brought upon his family.

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"How close they were to successfully making the trip is not clear." He said much of it had been "fantasy and role play."

Gul Nawaz, Hussain, representing his younger sibling, said "This offence occurred during lockdown. Boredom was rife and individuals spent excessive amounts of time looking out at the world through virtual eyes rather than real eyes. That is how it started for these young men. They were feeding each others views. He is well and truly on the road to deradicalisation."

Detective Chief Superintendent Mark Payne, from Counter Terrorism Policing West Midlands CTU, said: “The weight of evidence against them clearly gave them no choice but to admit they were preparing to join and fight for a terrorist organisation.

“We will continue to protect local communities by working with partners and the CPS to pursue and prosecute all those who show support for terrorism.

“We work tirelessly to counter terrorism. Our absolute priority is to ensure the safety and security of the people who live, work and visit the West Midlands area."