Alleged terror plotter Sahayb Abu told a pro-ISIS group chat that he wanted to “hunt down” gay people in the UK, a court has heard.
Abu, 27, stands accused of planning a terrorist attack, and is currently on trial at the Old Bailey in London. He has denied the charges.
Abu told a group chat on messaging platform Telegram that he had “panic attacks” when he saw gay people and that he wanted to “hunt them down”, the court heard.
In one message, he claimed he had seen a “woman-man thing and almost battered them”, according to The Independent.
During a court appearance at the Old Bailey on Monday (1 March), Abu claimed he had written the messages because he wanted to be seen as a “bad boy”.
He denied that the messages represented his actual views about LGBT+ people and said he sent the messages as an “ego trip” as he wanted to “flex his muscles”.
Alleged ISIS-supporter Sahayb Abu invented anti-LGBT+ views
Sahayb Abu told prosecutor John McGuinness that his story about wanting to “batter” a queer person was fabricated.
Abu went on to tell the court that he doesn’t find LGBT+ people disgusting “at all” and said he had once been kissed by a man in Heaven nightclub in London. He told the man that he is “not gay”.
The accused was released from prison in March 2020 after he served time for burglary. Prosecutors alleged that he planned a terrorist attack following his release. He was found to have purchased a sword, knife, combat vest and gloves online.
Abu’s family has links to ISIS, the court heard. Two of his half-brothers are thought to have died in Syria after they joined the jihadist group.
Three of his relatives were jailed in 2019 for disseminating terrorist publications, the court heard.
Abu told the court that he is not a supporter of ISIS and said he only joined the Telegram discussion because he was “bored” during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic.
He also said he was “trolling” when he shared extremist comments on YouTube and described himself as “sad and pathetic”.
Abu insisted that his comments arose from “a very hard year during lockdown”.
“It sound awful but it wasn’t in my heart. I’m not an ISIS-supporting terrorist, I’m not,” he said.
He said an ISIS flag found in his wardrobe actually belonged to his father, and claimed he had searched the names of knife attackers online because he was “interested in murders and whodunnits”.
The trial continues.