A young Muslim woman hoped to find a husband through an Al Qaeda propaganda magazine which she kept on a USB stick on top of her parents’ wardrobe, a court heard.
Afsana Kayum, 22, allegedly filled out an ‘Islamic Marriage Form’ included in one of the issues of Inspire magazine and said ‘he must be determined to do Jihad’.
Snaresbrook Crown Court heard a stash of 10 copies of the terrorist magazine were found when police raided her parents’ home in Plaistow, east London, in September 2013.
Prosecutor Steven Gray said Kayum was first visited by police five months earlier in an attempt to prevent her being radicalised.
He told jurors: ‘On 29 May 2013 officers from the Channel team of the Counter Terrorism command attended Miss Kayum’s family home – that team is part of a programme to target people who may be vulnerable to radicalisation.’
Kayum refused to speak with the officers until she had sought legal advice, and refused to speak to them again when they returned in July the same year.
Mr Gray said: ‘They were there to offer help, if indeed she wanted it, to stop her going down the wrong path and she was provided with a telephone number to contact the police.
‘The officers explained to Miss Kayum’s mother in front of Miss Kayum, that they were concerned she held extreme views, but she would not discuss the matter at that stage.’
Officers from the unit returned again in September to execute a search warrant on the property, seizing Kayum’s phone, her letters and also the family’s shared laptop.
Just before leaving, officers discovered a USB stick on top of the wardrobe in Kayum’s parent’s room with the help of an extendable mirror.
Mr Gray said: ‘Some of the items that were seized were examined by experts and were found to contain extreme ideological material that justifies, glorifies and indeed encourages terrorist activity.’
The USB stick contained a number of Kayum’s YouTube videos, as well as all 10 issues of the Yemen-based propaganda magazine including its special edition ‘The Lone Mujahid Pocketbook’.
Mr Gray said: ‘The magazine has articles containing realistic and practical considerations for any aspiring terrorist, and it’s the contents of these magazine that this charge focuses on.’
Among them was the marriage form, in which she allegedly wrote: ‘I like to keep up to date with current affairs and what’s happening to Muslims around the world, and I like to write letters to Muslim prisoners.’
In a section titled ‘Things I am not willing to compromise on’ she wrote: ‘He must be determined to do Jihad and encourage me to do the same’.
‘He must carry out all obligatory acts in Islam which includes Jihad, which needs to be done,’ she added.
Kayum also listed ‘establishing institutions to teach the ignorant’ as one of her goals for her and her future husband.
She had included a telephone number for her father in case anyone was interested in her as a wife.
Mr Gray said: ‘This document, which appears to have been completed by the defendant, undoubtedly assists us with who was using this USB stick.’
She appeared at Snaresbrook Crown Court today where she denied possessing 10 copies of Inspire magazine and extremist YouTube videos
Some of the files on the USB stick were stored onto Kayum’s mobile phone, and she had also accessed the files via the family laptop under her own user name, the court heard.
She had carried out searches for terms including ‘sanctity’ and ‘endurance exercises’, it is said.
The court heard Inspire magazine explains how anyone can become a terrorist, saying, ‘All that is needed is the willingness to give one’s life for Allah.’
One of the issues contained an article called ‘The Ultimate Mowing Machine’ and gave step-by-step instructions on how a pickup truck could be fitted with blades to mow down closely packed pedestrians.
It said: ‘The blades don’t need to be very sharp because with the speed of impact even the blunt end would cut through bone very easily.’
It recommends finding a tightly packed crowd in a confined space for maximum effect, adding ‘If you have access to firearms carry them with you so you can finish your work if your vehicle is grounded.’
The article tells the reader to consider acts of terrorism a ‘one-way street’ because it would be too difficult to get away undetected.
An extract read to the jury said: ‘You keep on fighting until you achieve martyrdom – you start the day in this world and by the end of it you are with Allah.’
The magazines also had detailed instructions on how to use and maintain and AK47 machine gun, recipes for home-made bombs and how to use a programme called ‘Fileshredder’ to avoid being caught by police.
It also explains how would-be terrorists could attempt to blow up a building by filing it with gas or attacking its gravity centres and load-bearing walls.
Mr Gray said: ‘The defendant’s possession of this material is not likely to be in dispute, but it’s the reason for the possession of this material that may well be in dispute.’
The prosecution claims Kayum had also been exchanging text messages with Ruksana Begum, 23, who was jailed in December 2012 for possession of two copies of Inspire magazine.
Mr Gray said: ‘This messages are significant because it shows Miss Kayum was aware of the risks she exposed herself to if she was caught in possession of this material.’
She also allegedly sent a text message to 100 recipients imploring them to ‘Write a letter or a message to our Muslim brothers [in jail] even if it’s just a few meaningful lines.’
Kayum later sent a follow-up text message complaining that only two people had responded to her appeal for letters, the court heard.
She appeared in the dock in a bright pink floral headscarf and black jacket, and took notes throughout the prosecution’s opening speech.
Kayum denies one count of possession of a record containing information contrary to the Terrorism Act.
The trial continues.