Barber who used UK Covid-19 loans to send more than £25,000 to ISIS jailed for 12 years

Tarek Namouz was radicalised in prison while serving a sentence for rape

Tarek Namouz used UK Covid-19 loads to fund ISIS. Photo: Metropolitan Police
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A convicted rapist who was radicalised in prison used Covid-19 business loans to send more than £25,000 ($29,808) to ISIS.

London barber Tarek Namouz, 43, sent the money to his friend who was fighting for ISIS in his homeland, Syria.

On Thursday, he was jailed for 12 years.

An investigation by the Metropolitan Police discovered he had claimed the loans from London's Hammersmith and Fulham Council and transferred them to a schoolfriend.

He was arrested in May 2021 in an operation by counter terrorism officers.

Material found on his phone revealed messages between him and an ISIS supporter in Syria in which they talked about buying weapons and explosives to use against the Syrian government forces.

They also found a video of how to make a bomb like the one used in the Manchester Arena attack.

Namouz was found guilty at Kingston Crown Court in December of providing money for terrorism and possessing information useful for terrorism.

Judge Peter Lodder KC told Namouz he had demonstrated a “commitment to terrorism” and planned to “re-establish a state run in accordance with extreme Islamic principles”.

“In 2020 and 2021 you ran a barber’s shop in Hammersmith,” he said.

“You were entitled to Covid bounce-back loans which were paid to you by the local council.

“You sent that money, and other money, through a west London transfer and currency exchange, to terrorists in Syria.”

Namouz interrupted the judge from the dock, claiming “I never sent that money”. But after he was sentenced he said: “Thank you, your honour.”

But in a further courtroom outburst before he was taken down to the cells, he turned to police officers sitting in court and said: “May Allah destroy you. We will meet on judgment day. You’re a kafir [non-believer] and you will end up in hell.”

He had been sending the funds via a money transfer bureau in west London. Detectives found records of transactions totalling £11,280.

However, while on remand, he was recorded telling a visitor who had come to see him in prison that he had sent more than double that amount ― about £25,000.

When officers visited Namouz’s flat to arrest him on May 25, 2021, he told officers he did not have a phone.

But during the search, detectives found one hidden in a recess under a drawer.

On the phone officers found Daesh propaganda material consisting of thousands of videos, messages and documents that he had downloaded from Telegram.

This included two videos ― one of which gave instructions on how to create an improvised explosive device, and another detailing how to carry out knife attacks.

Namouz originally came to Britain as a student and claimed asylum in 1996.

He was jailed for rape in 2014 and is believed to have been radicalised in prison.

Commander Richard Smith, who leads the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command, said: “Terrorist groups rely on funding to carry out their activities and to continue to operate.

“People like Namouz who provide money to terrorist groups ― both in the UK and overseas ― are enabling others to go and commit serious and deadly attacks, and we will always pursue and investigate those people and seek to bring them to justice.”

Updated: January 05, 2023, 2:30 PM