UK pharmacist showed child video of beheading
Zameer Ghumra ‘brainwashed’ children and asked if they wanted to join Islamic State
Zameer Ghumra who was convicted of disseminating “terrorist propaganda” followed various Islamic State-linked social media accounts. File photograph: Ahmad al-Rubaye/AFP/Getty Images
A pharmacist who claimed Islamic State were “not bad people” has been convicted of showing a beheading video to a young child.
Zameer Ghumra “brainwashed” two primary school-age children, instructing them to not have non-Muslim friends and asking if they wanted to join the terrorist group or help recruit others to its ranks.
The 38-year-old was found guilty by the jury of eight men and four women at Nottingham Crown Court on Thursday of disseminating “terrorist propaganda” in the form of a graphic Twitter video on his mobile phone between January 2013 and September 2014.
The court heard how Ghumra taught the children how to ”survive a bomb attack” and fight with knives – rewarding them with sweets to keep them on side.
The jury also heard that the two children were told that when they arrived in Syria, they would have to behead people.
Ghumra had been working as a pharmacist in Oundle, Northamptonshire, before he was arrested.
Simon Davis, prosecuting, said Ghumra had told a customer at the pharmacy that Islamic State, also known as Isis, were “not bad people – they’re only defending themselves”.
Ghumra, of Haringworth Road, Leicester, followed various Islamic State-linked social media accounts and made the two children follow similar accounts.
The pharmacist, who had denied the charge, was convicted on Thursday after a trial lasting eight days.
Ghumra, who is said to have been setting up a madrasa – Islamic religious school – stood emotionless as the verdict was read out after two hours of jury deliberation.
The prosecution said Ghumra had claimed the children had been put up to ”making a false allegation”.
The jury was also told how he had online conversations with Anjem Choudary, describing him as ”a good man” to the children.
The youngsters were also told of Choudary’s arrest in September 2014, on suspicion of inviting support for a proscribed group.
The court heard that after Ghumra’s arrest at Birmingham Airport in September 2015, a computer was seized showing 1,600 search results for terms including ”survival knives” and ”bushcraft”.
However, after police officers searched his home, neither the phone containing the beheading video or the video itself was recovered.
He will be sentenced on Friday.