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Thursday, December 12, 2019

Former Miss Teen Great Britain who dreamed of becoming ISIS fighter is convicted of funding terrorism

A former Miss Teen Great Britain who once dated a Liverpool footballer has been convicted of funding terrorism.

Amaani Noor, 21, turned to religion after splitting from a Liverpool footballer. She married a jihadi fighter online and told him it was "her dream" to join him in war-torn Syria.

She was arrested after sending $45.51 to a Paypal account linked to an Islamist group called The Merciful Hands on May 23, 2018. She denied knowing or believing that the money may be used for the purposes of terrorism. But a jury at Liverpool Crown Court heard Noor had expressed her support for "violent jihad" and Islamic State terrorists via the encrypted instant messaging service Telegram.

During the trial the court heard how Noor focused on religion after splitting with an LFC footballer, the Liverpool Echo reports. The player was not named in court but Noor has previously spoken out about her relationship with Sheyi Ojo, who is on loan at Rangers.

The jury heard Noor, from Liverpool, had been introduced to Merciful Hands by 28-year-old Victoria Webster who earlier this year pleaded guilty to funding terrorism.
Before sending the money, she received a message from Webster saying a foreign fighter needed help.

The message reads: "The father is a frontliner, and due to his circumstances and debts it’s hard to keep food on the table."

A minute after sending the money Noor messaged Webster, saying: "So will it go to a brother who is a fighter or ex fighter and has a family?."

The jury rejected Noor’s explanation that she only intended the money to be used for humanitarian aid.

Diana Wilson, prosecuting, said: "It is clear from the context that she did not think she was giving money to support Syrian government forces."

The court heard the former WAG supported Sharia Law and kept IS propaganda videos depicting terrorists torturing, executing and beheading victims on her phone.

She said she had both dreams and fears of becoming an ISIS fighter in a deleted email sent to her husband.

On the day police searched Noor’s home in July last year, she had flights booked to Turkey, the jury was told.

Giving evidence, Noor told the jury she had been planning to go and join her husband Hakim in Syria, where he said he was an independent fighter, and as their marriage continued she "wanted to be with him more".

The former performing arts student, who had a Youtube channel, said now her marriage to Hakim had ended she felt it was "stupid", "bad" and "wrong".

She added: "I don’t feel proud or happy about it."

Sentencing was adjourned after David Gottlieb, defending, asked for a pre-sentence report to be prepared.

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