'Jihadist bride? No, a foul-mouthed, weed-smoking Kafir'

Trial hears unusual defence of woman accused of sending cash to husband fighting in Syria

crime correspondent

She is foul-mouthed, opinionated, addicted to her phone and a “weed-smoking Kafir”. She talks too much and is so selfish that she wouldn’t attend a charity event unless she could get in free. And that, m’lud, is the case for the defence.

In one of the unlikelier courtroom speeches on behalf of the accused, a barrister has highlighted a sweeping range of character flaws in an attempt to show that his client was incapable of being a jihadist bride. She is accused of arranging to send €20,000 (£16,000) to her husband fighting in Syria, concealed in her friend’s underwear.

“A more unlikely terrorist you may never have seen in this court,” barrister Mark Summers said as defendant Amal El-Wahabi, 27, covered her mouth to hide her laughter in the dock. “Just picture this – Amal, that foul-mouthed, red-haired, talkaholic, opinionated, phone-addicted, weed-smoking kaffir playing the dutiful Burka-clad [woman] cooking around the camp fire in Syria.

“If a jury in this court in its 200 years has been invited to swallow a more preposterous proposition, I personally would have paid good money to see it,” he said.

“Added to these unsuitable jihadist personality traits is selfishness. Everything that Amal says and does is about her. She wouldn’t even attend a charity event if she couldn’t get in free.”

 

Ms El-Wahabi is accused of asking her friend, Nawal Msaad, also 27, to courier the money to Turkey at the request of her husband Aine Davis. Mr Davis, who was known by his Muslim name of Hamza, had a history of dealing “drugs, drugs and more drugs”, the barrister said. Mr Summers said she had been planning to take her two young children to live in Turkey and had been telling people that.

To find her guilty, Mr Summers told the jury, it would have to be confident that she knew her husband was a terrorist and that the money was for terrorism. Ms El-Wahabi, of north west London, and Ms Msaad, of Holloway, north London, both deny a charge of funding terrorism.

Amal El-Wahabi is accused of asking her friend, Nawal Msaad, above, to take money to her husband in Syria Amal El-Wahabi is accused of asking her friend, Nawal Msaad, above, to take money to her husband in Syria (Rex)

Ms Msaad was stopped at Heathrow before she boarded a flight, and handed over the money hidden in her underwear, the Old Bailey heard. Ms Msaad’s defence barrister, Naeem Mian, said it was hard to believe that she could have been recruited in such a short time. “By my calculations, 12 minutes and 16 seconds in total, during which Ms Msaad is alleged to have been recruited to the jihadist cause.”

He went on: “It is, in the truest sense of the word, wholly incredible, because thereafter, members of the jury, we see Ms Msaad starts searching for flights to Istanbul.”

Mr Mian said the fact that his client told her friends and family she was travelling to Turkey for a short break also disproved the prosecution’s case that she thought the money was going to fund terrorism.

The judge is due to begin summing up the case today.

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