A medical student arrested on suspicion of planning a terrorist attack in London has used social media to reject democracy and has complained that incest and homosexuality are “everywhere” in England.
Tarik Hassane, 21, has argued it is a “major sin” for Muslims to live among “disbelievers”, advising them to emigrate instead to a country governed by sharia.
He has said British jihadists fighting against the forces of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria were “fulfilling the greatest deed in Islam”.
Hassane has stated, however, in recent postings that he is “not with” Isis, the terrorist group also known as Islamic State. He has also made clear that “killing of innocents is haram [forbidden]”.
Nicknamed “The Surgeon”, Hassane is one of five friends from west London who were arrested last week as part of an investigation into an alleged terrorist plot.
Police have not disclosed details of any target, but it was claimed they may have disrupted the first Isis-inspired attack on British soil.
Yesterday, it emerged that one of the other suspects, Yasir Mahmoud, 20, works at the Westfield shopping centre in White City, west London. He is employed as a part-time shop assistant in a branch of Sports Direct. “He’s a normal guy and no way is he involved in terrorism,” said a friend, who did not want to be named. “He goes to the mosque on Friday — but he drinks alcohol and isn’t political.”
Mahmoud had been living with his Iraqi-born mother in a two-bedroom flat on a council estate close to the busy Edgware Road in central London.
Another friend said they were forced to move out two months ago because of financial difficulties.
The friend said that Mahmoud’s father returned to his native Egypt several years ago after the suspect’s parents split up.
Two other suspects arrested in dawn raids last Tuesday are Gusai Abuzeid, 21, a part-time Primark worker whose family are Libyan; and Rawan Kheder, 20, the son of Iraqi Kurd immigrants. A fifth man, 20, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is a physics student.
Like Abuzeid and Kheder, Hassane is a former pupil of Westminster City School.
His mother is Moroccan and his father, he says, is from Saudi Arabia, although his name does not appear on Hassane’s birth certificate.
Two years ago, he moved to Sudan to study medicine after failing to achieve the required grades to pursue the subject at King’s College London.
Students at the University of Medical Sciences and Technology in Khartoum told The Sunday Times that Hassane had travelled to Syria during his degree. They expressed shock that he had been arrested after returning to his family home in Ladbroke Grove, west London, last weekend during a holiday to mark the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha.
“He’s just a religious person, but that doesn’t make him a terrorist,” one student said.
Since moving to Sudan, Hassane has been providing advice on Islamic affairs on Ask.fm, the controversial social networking site. His postings have appeared under the username Abu Bakr Hijaz and — despite his relative youth — many followers address him as “shaykh”.
Hassane has repeatedly claimed online that voting and democracy are “kufr”, or the act of a non-believer.
In one post, he advised Muslims in non-Muslim countries to emigrate — even though he intends to carry out a two-year medical placement at an NHS hospital.
“Living among the disbelievers in their countries is a major sin and hijra [emigration] from these countries is wajib [obligatory],” he wrote.
“[In] England you have incest, homosexuals, sexual interactions in public, physical attacks on Muslims, alcohol/nudity everywhere,” he added.
Hassane also opposes music and has described moderate Sufi Muslims as “filthy” and “deviant”.
He has claimed that women “can never rule countries, be judges or lead anything” because they are driven by emotion. He told one female correspondent: “It’s more beneficial for you to take lessons on how to make dinner and clean and obey.”
Although Hassane has praised British jihadists fighting the Assad regime in Syria, he denies wanting to become a “mujahid”, or holy warrior. Four months ago, when he was asked about Isis atrocities in the country, Hassane wrote: “I don’t know about Isis, I’m not with them and I barely know anything about them.”
British friends claim Hassane is the victim of heavy-handed police tactics. They have been posting their support on Twitter under the “JusticeForTarik” hashtag. All five men continued to be questioned last night.
(Photo: Yasir Mahmoud)