Man jailed for preparing terror plot while living in Sheffield condemned for 'gross betrayal' of Islamic faith

A man who prepared a terror plot while living in Sheffield after becoming ‘committed’ to extremist ideology ‘grossly betrayed’ the ‘peaceful and inclusive’ Islamic faith with his actions, a court heard.

Thursday, 25th July 2019, 4:16 pm

Judge Paul Watson QC jailed Farhad Salah for 15 years, with an extended license period of an additional three years, for preparing to commit an act of terrorism during a hearing held at Sheffield Crown Court today.

In addition to condemning Salah for ‘becoming wedded’ to the extremist ideology of Islamic State and preparing to commit an act of terrorism, Judge Watson also described his ‘perversion’ of the Islamic faith as ‘abhorrent’.

He said: “You and those like you, who believe that such action, in the name of an extremist cause, reflects a legitimate interpretation of Islam must know different.

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“Islam is a religion of peace and inclusivity, so very far from the corrupt and perverted ideology around which you were operating.

“What you were doing, purportedly in the name of a strict and reactionary construction of the Islamic faith was, in truth, a gross betrayal of that great faith.

“To all peaceful and tolerant Muslims, you and those like you who take their religion as an excuse for violence and disruption, are an abhorrence.”

Salah was arrested and charged after counter-terrorism police raided his home at the Brunswick Community Centre on December 19, 2017.

Police seized Salah’s mobile phone and a small amount of explosives from his property.

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Judge Watson said that through Salah’s phone and his online activity, police were able to deduce that Salah was someone who had ‘become wedded to an extremist ideology and was preparing to take action to give effect to those views’.

Salah was found guilty preparing to commit and act of terrorism, following a five week trial at Sheffield Crown Court.

Jurors failed to reach a verdict in the case of Salah’s co-accused, Andy Star, 32, of Sheffield Road, Chesterfield, who was accused of the same offence.

They were the second jury to try the pair, and Judge Watson confirmed a third trial would not be sought in Mr Star’s case and recorded a not guilty verdict.

The court was told that Salah came to the United Kingdom from Kurdistan in 2014, in a bid to escape conflict and the oppressive regime there.

“This country provided you with sanctuary from the oppression which you claim to have suffered before you fled Kurdistan. Prior to your arrest you were living and working in the South Yorkshire area, where to all outward appearances you were living a law-abiding lifestyle. The reality was far more sinister,” said Judge Watson.

Salah, who worked as a barber in Stocksbridge prior to his arrest, was sentenced to an extended license period due to the significant risk of serious harm he is believed to pose to the public.

This means he must serve at least two-thirds of his sentence, instead of one half, before he can be considered for release.

The court was told he would most likely be deported from the UK on his release from prison.