A pharmacist working in Oundle 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 youngsters, 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.
Wearing a green fleece, 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.
He will be sentenced tomorrow (Friday) at the court.
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, before he was arrested.
Simon Davis, prosecuting, said Ghumra had told a customer at the pharmacy that Islamic State were “not bad people - they’re only defending themselves”.
Ghumra, of Haringworth Road, Leicester, followed various IS-linked social media accounts and made the two children follow similar accounts.
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.
Speaking afterwards, Sue Hemming of the Crown Prosecution Service said: “Zameer Ghumra tried to brainwash impressionable children with this violent ideology by making one watch beheading videos and urging them both to adopt a hard-line religious outlook.
“The CPS case was that he intended to radicalise them in the hope that they would go on to be involved in terrorism.
“The children were brave to give evidence and we would like to thank them for helping to secure this conviction of a dangerous man.” He denied the charge, but was convicted on Thursday after a trial lasting eight days.