ISIS supporter Shehroz Iqbal convicted over WhatsApp call to arms in London

Iqbal sent a video to a group of associates calling for an attack on the Southbank Centre

Shehroz Iqbal shared extremist views and promoted ISIS on social media. Met Police
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An ISIS supporter has been convicted of encouraging terrorism by posting a video on social media urging like-minded associates to attack one of London’s most famous arts venues.

Shehroz Iqbal, 29, posted the footage on a 22-strong WhatsApp group named “From Dark to Light” that included a notorious Islamist preacher with links to a terrorist who attacked nearby London Bridge in 2017.

Iqbal had claimed that he was saying “attack, attack” on the footage because he wanted a German Shepherd dog and was practising commands, according to UK media reports.

But a jury found the “volatile” Iqbal guilty on Tuesday of encouraging terrorism and spreading terrorist material. He will be sentenced next month.

Iqbal was initially arrested after he posted an ISIS propaganda video in March from 2015 that featured a dead body. It was viewed more than 200 times. Police only uncovered the video of the Southbank Centre, a complex of theatres and arts venues in central London, when they examined his phone.

Prosecutors said he spent more than an hour in the area and his camera lingered over traffic crossing Waterloo Bridge, one of the capital’s busiest.

The area of arts venues on the south bank of the River Thames is popular with tourists and a magnet for London workers.

In the footage recorded during his time in the area, Iqbal said: “This is my spot Akhi (brothers). Central London. Attack, attack.”

The WhatsApp group included a preacher known as Abu Haleema, who was reportedly associated with Anjem Choudary.

Choudary is considered one of the UK’s most dangerous radicalisers because of his links to terrorist suspects and for encouraging Britons to travel to fight in Iraq and Syria. Choudary was released in 2018 from a five-and-a-half-year prison sentence for supporting ISIS.

Haleema also had links to Khuram Butt, one of three attackers who killed eight people close to London Bridge during one of a series of Islamist attacks in the UK in 2017.

Iqbal denied the charges and claimed he posted the Facebook video when he was high on drugs.

Commander Richard Smith, head of counter-terrorism for the Met Police in London, said: “Shehroz Iqbal is a volatile man with an extremist mindset who has now been brought to justice.”