British Muslims who 'set out to bring up children under IS in Syria' facing jail
A group of British Muslims who allegedly set out to bring up their children under the Islamic State in Syria are facing jail.
Muslim convert Lorna Moore, 33, was accused of planning to take her three young children to the war zone - including an 11-month-old baby.
Around the same time, a number of pregnant women from the same community were poised to give birth in the Caliphate.
Following an Old Bailey trial, Moore, from Walsall, West Midlands, was found guilty of failing to tell authorities her husband Sajid Aslam, 34, was about to leave for Syria.
The jury, which deliberated for more than 17 hours, also convicted Ayman Shaukat, 27, of preparing terrorist acts by helping Aslam and Muslim convert Alex Nash, 22, on their way.
The pair will be sentenced on a date to be fixed alongside Nash and Kerry Thomason, 24, who was pregnant when she was stopped from flying out with her two children to join her husband in Syria.
At the time of Aslam's departure in August 2014, Moore had taken the rest of the family on a Butlin's holiday in Skegness.
The day after dropping him off at the airport, Shaukat sent a photograph of himself on his mobile phone posing with the IS flag, the court heard.
As Aslam crossed into Syria, he sent a triumphant coded message back to Shaukat in the form of a video link to a song called I Made It by Cash Money Heroes.
Within months, Moore had booked flights to Palma, Majorca, but the prosecution said her final destination was given away in a text from Nash's pregnant wife in Turkey saying "see you there".
But giving evidence, Moore said she would "never" put her children's lives in danger, adding: "They mean the world to me."
She insisted she had been planning to take them back to her family's farm in Omagh, Northern Ireland, after finishing her teacher training - a claim backed up by her mother.
Her relationship with Aslam ended after he became abusive and they only lived together for the sake of the children who are now aged three, nine and 10, the court heard.
She told jurors that when she turned to a Muslim cleric for a divorce, he told her that a "white Muslim is not a special Muslim" and she must take her husband back.
She said Aslam should "grow a pair" and come back to Britain and explain himself "if he is innocent and got nothing to hide".
Aslam's sister Sarwat told jurors her brother had been in touch with her during the course of the trial to say he wanted to "start a dialogue with police about coming home".
Shaukat, of Pargeter Street, Walsall, denied helping his friends join IS by dropping Aslam and Nash off at airports.
The convicted burglar and law degree graduate was nicknamed Karma Chameleon during the trial because he presented different versions of himself and his home in the Caldmore area in Walsall is known locally as Karma.
He described IS as "evil" and said that he had told MI5 he would "assist in any way I could" after agents contacted him as treasurer of the community group Islam Walsall.
The former Legal and General personal case manager had several meetings and phone calls with security services before their association "fizzled out", he said.
Jurors were told about other members of the West Midlands group who allegedly set off for Syria between July and December 2014.
The first to join IS was Muslim convert, Jake Petty, 25, also known as Abu Yaqoob Britany.
His Christian minister mother Sue Boyce wept as she told jurors how she begged him not to go and later had to identify his body from video footage on social media after he was killed in December 2014.
Petty was swiftly followed by former schoolmate Isaiah Siadatan, 24, whose pregnant wife Thomason was prevented from joining him.
The court heard he had sent her an email in December 2014 insisting that she should bring their children to him in IS.
Siadatan is believed to have been killed in the summer of 2015, although his death is unconfirmed.
Thomason has previously pleaded guilty to assisting her husband in preparation of his terrorist acts.
Nash and his pregnant wife Yousma Jan, 20, were arrested by Turkish authorities and sent back to the UK.
He took sole responsibility for the plan and admitted preparing acts of terrorism, while a charge against Jan was discontinued.
The jury was not told about more men and women from Walsall who are also believed to have gone to Syria.
One of the men has since died in fighting, according to unconfirmed reports. The wife of another man is understood to have given birth to a child after becoming pregnant in Syria.
Moore and Shaukat made no reaction as the guilty verdicts were delivered.
Judge Charles Wide granted Moore conditional bail out of "concern" for her children but told her she should have "no expectations raised".
Afterwards, West Midlands Police's Assistant Chief Constable Marcus Beale said the case showed that "whether you are a traveller and going to join" or you are someone who helps in organising, "that's just as criminal and just as dangerous".
He said: "Isis (another term for IS) is a really dangerous organisation and the criminal courts will be interested in hearing those cases."
He added: "Another important part of this case is where you have got people who have knowledge of travel and the intent when they get there who have not come forward, and that's committing a crime.
"If they are helping Isis, then that's a danger to the UK."