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London Bridge terrorist Khuram Butt was fervent supporter of IS, relative says

Fahad Khan, the cousin of Butt’s wife Zahrah Rehman, said he openly discussed with him his support for Islamic State.

London Bridge terrorist Khuram Butt was inspired by watching videos on YouTube, was a fervent supporter of Islamic State and wanted to leave his pregnant wife to fight in Syria, a relative said.

Butt and his two accomplices Rachid Redouane and Youssef Zaghba died in a hail of police bullets after killing eight people during their murderous spree in the capital on Saturday.

Butt, 27, was a regular at the Ummah Fitness Centre in Ilford – where he reportedly went with both Redouane and Zaghba.

Fahad Khan, the cousin of Butt’s wife Zahrah Rehman, said he openly discussed with him his support for Islamic State.

Mr Khan, 36, said the younger man had been radicalised by watching videos on YouTube, spoke of wanting to travel to Syria to fight and had an excellent knowledge of Islamic texts.

He told reporters: “Such funny views. He said all the time that what IS is doing is quite justified.

“His arguments are always vague to me. I always tried to stay friendly and fun. I don’t take his argument very seriously because I didn’t want to have a clash with him.

“According to him IS, whatever they are doing killing innocent people, he says it is quite justified.”

Explaining his belief that Butt had been radicalised after watching online films, he said: “Khuram, I know he was inspired by one of the sheikhs who was giving lectures on YouTube, and he belonged to one specific sector of Islam which had very rigid and strict views.

“Videos about fighting non-Muslims for no reasons, innocent non-Muslims. He wanted to go to Syria, yes. I heard from (an) uncle that he wanted to go to Syria to fight, but because of the family pressure or it might be the intervention by the authorities who seized his passport or whatever, he couldn’t go there.”

Asked if he had a direct link to IS, he said: “It may be possible, but I can’t tell you.”

The gym is just a street away from Wingate Road, where late on Wednesday armed police raided a house and arrested a 29-year-old man in connection with the London Bridge terror investigation.

Mr Khan said that he and others prayed at the gym, particularly during Ramadan, but said he had not seen any signs of radicalisation there.

He said: “I haven’t seen it because the gym is not for Muslim people. I didn’t see anything like that. It might be behind the scenes, but personally I don’t know anything.”

He also told reporters Butt had introduced him to Redouane at the gym about a month ago.

Mr Khan’s cousin, Ms Rehman, was pregnant when Butt was discussing travelling to Syria, Mr Khan said, and his family wanted to stop him going.

He said: “I’ve even heard that his family has taken his passport, and that’s the reason he stayed here.”

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