Monday 22 January 2018

'Serial bride' jailed for plot to kill Jews in Britain

Shasta Khan ( left), a hairdresser who was jailed
yesterday for planning a terrorist attack on Manchester's
Jewish community, and (right) her husband
Mohammed Khan
Shasta Khan ( left), a hairdresser who was jailed yesterday for planning a terrorist attack on Manchester's Jewish community, and (right) her husband Mohammed Khan

Dean Gray in Manchester

A serial bride who became a "homegrown'' British terrorist after she met and married her third husband through a Muslim dating site was jailed for eight years yesterday.

Hairdresser Shasta Khan (38) had two failed marriages before becoming radicalised by al-Qa'ida and inspired by Osama bin Laden after she met ex-car valeter Mohammed Khan (33) on a site named 'Single Muslim'.

She ditched her Westernised and "chilled-out'' lifestyle in favour of strict traditional Islamic dress, stopped watching her favourite TV shows like 'Coronation Street' and 'EastEnders' and tuned into terrorist propaganda on the internet instead.

Shasta and her husband later began planning to build a DIY device using chapatti flour, hairdressing chemicals and a set of Christmas tree lights to launch a terrorist bomb attack upon Jewish communities in Manchester.

They also carried out reconnaisance missons on possible targets including a synagogue in the Prestwich area and she was said to have used her hairdressing business Sassy Hair Studio as a front to seek targets as part of a "personal jihad.''

But the plot was exposed by chance in July last year when police were called to a report of a bust-up between Khan and Shasta's father.

Khan was initially arrested on suspicion of stealing his father-in-law's car but anti-terror officers were called in after a member of Shasta's family expressed concerns Khan was a terrorist.

Police raided the couple's two-up two-down terrace in Oldham, Greater Manchester and found a string of documents with titles including '39 Ways to Serve and Participate in Jihad'.

Yesterday, at Manchester Crown Court, Shasta was convicted of engaging in conduct in preparation for acts of terrorism and two counts of possessing a record of information likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism.

She denied the charges. Her husband pleaded guilty to engaging in conduct in preparation for acts of terrorism. He was sentenced to a minimum of seven-and-a-half years before being considered for parole.

After the case Det Chief Supt Anthony Mole, head of the North West Counter-Terrorism Unit, said: "It is impossible to say with any certainty what their exact endgame was, or what their specific targets may have been, but the evidence suggests they were in the attack-planning stage of a terrorist act motivated by anti-Semitic beliefs.

"What we must acknowledge is the dangers posed by the relatively easy access to online publications which contain instructions on how to make viable explosive devices from everyday household items, and how this can create 'home-grown' terrorists."

Earlier the trial was told Shasta had been born in the UK, but as a teenager was sent to Pakistan by her family into a forced marriage after her sister was caught with a boyfriend.

She had a daughter, now aged 18, by her first husband but the marriage ended. She wed again but that marriage also failed.

Honeymoon

She met Khan originally from Bradford, West Yorkshire on the Muslim dating site in July 2010. He proposed an Islamic marriage three days and they married in August 2010. They were pictured enjoying a honeymoon in Turkey and looking happy as they rode a jetski.

But within weeks of the wedding the couple became strict Islamists, with Khan wearing long white robes and growing a beard while she wore a burka.

Later the couple drove to Prestwich, where he directed her to a Jewish temple and observed worshippers arriving and leaving. While there, Khan said: "We must kill them all."

Between March and July 2011, the couple began to access online bomb-making manuals and acquired everyday household items from supermarkets and high-street retailers which could be used to construct a DIY device.

But the plot fell apart after Shasta's brother, Ibrahim, identified Khan as a "home-grown terrorist'' and when police spoke to her, she spilled the beans on her husband's activities. She was then arrested herself.

In her defence Shasta said she had been frightened of her husband and denied wrongdoing. Asked if she had a problem with Jewish people, she said: "No. I have friends in Prestwich. I used to live there.''

Irish Independent

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