Islamic Studies Teacher Accused Of Helping Two Extremists Flee To Syria Is A Prankster Who Once Locked Friend In McDonald's Toilet'

Islamic studies teacher Ayman Shaukat, 27, is accused of helping two extremists flee to Syria Read more:

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  • Ayman Shaukat, 27, is accused of helping friends fight for ISIS in 2014
  • But his friend insists he is joker and used to mock posturing of IS fighters
  • Muhammed Jan said Shaukat has discussed but was never supportive of IS
  • Shaukat denies two counts of preparation of terrorist acts, trial continues

An Islamic studies teacher accused of helping two extremists flee to Syria is a prankster who once locked a friend in a McDonald’s toilet, a court heard.

Ayman Shaukat, 27, a key member of Islam Walsall in the west Midlands, is accused of driving two friends to the airport so they could join Islamic State.

Shaukat allegedly sympathised with IS and a picture of him posing in front of an ISIS-style flag in his bedroom was recovered from his mobile phone.

But Shaukat’s best friend Muhammed Jan today insisted he was a joker who used to mock the posturing of IS fighters.

He said he once had to be rescued from the toilets of a McDonald’s in Slough, Berks, by the Fire Brigade after Shaukat locked him in.

Mr Jan said he met Shaukat on the first day of secondary school and attended Coventry University with him to study law.

‘I saw him two or three times a week in a social capacity, we usually went out to eat somewhere, he was always the designated driver.’

Laughing as he recalled the incident in McDonald’s, he said his mate had locked him in the disabled toilet after he had specifically told him not to use it.

He continued: ‘I always used to take the mick out of him because he supports Chelsea and I support Man United.’

Asked if Shaukat had ever said or done anything that made him believe he sympathised with IS, he said: ‘He would talk about it when it was on TV, he’d discuss it but he wasn’t supportive.’

He added: ‘He had friends that were Sikh, Hindu, atheist, Christian - he never made decisions about his friends based on what their religion was.’

Pranked: Shaukat’s best friend Muhammed Jan today insisted he was a joker who used to mock the posturing of IS fighters and told the court that he once had to be rescued from the toilets of a McDonald’s in Slough, Berks, by the Fire Brigade after Shaukat locked him in

He added that Shaukat would laugh at IS, saying: ‘He used to joke about it.. These made up people thinking they’ve got a caliphate and he would just laugh about it.’

Shaukat previously told the court that Islam Walsall was set up to bring together the 20,000 Muslims in the town. He said the organisation was also set up for non-Muslims.

The Coventry University law graduate told the Old Bailey he was asked to help spread the message of the danger of travelling to Syria.

Shaukat is accused of assisting supply teacher Sajid Aslam, 34, and former C of E schoolboy Alex Nash, 22, to travel to the civil war-ravaged country to fight for ISIS between July and December 2014.

He is alleged to have driven Aslam to Stansted airport on 23 August 2014, from where he flew to Istanbul and claimed to be teaching English in Turkey.

Today, his sister Sarwat Aslam told the court she had no idea of her brother’s plans until her mother said she had received a visit from the police in November 2014.

She towards the end of 2014 and in January and February 2015 she had received about half a dozen phone calls and WhatsApp messages from her brother, who maintained he was in Turkey.

She said: ‘Several times he said he was in Turkey and he was teaching refugee children - he told us it was cold and miserable.’

Ms Aslam added that the calls were always ‘out of the blue’ and she had no way of initiating contact with her brother.

Aslam is said to have left his Northern Ireland-born wife Lorna Moore, 33, and their three children to join the terror group in August 2014.

Lorna Moore, 33, is accused of failing to tell authorities about her husband Sajid Aslam's plans to join the terror group

Moore, who was raised as a Protestant, is standing trial alongside Shaukat accused of failing to alert police to her husband’s departure.

Shaukat is also accused of driving Nash and wife Yousma Jan, 20, to Birmingham airport on 4 November 2014 so they could fly to Turkey, from where they allegedly intended to cross the border into Syria.

The pair were deported back to the UK by the Turkish authorities and arrested off the plane at Heathrow airport. Nash has since pleaded guilty to preparation of terrorist acts.

They are said to have been part of a group of young Walsall Muslims who wanted to join ISIS between July and November 2014.

Jurors heard the group included Jacob Petty, whose mother is a C of E minister, who is believed to have been killed in Syria, aged 25, while using the name Abu Yaqoob Britany.

His schoolfriend, Isaiah Siadatan, left his wife, by Islamic ceremony, Kerry Thomason, 24, and their two children to join his pal.

It is not known whether he is still alive, but Thomason has pleaded guilty to assisting him in preparation for his acts of terrorism.

Shaukat, of Pargeter Street, Walsall, denies two counts of preparation of terrorist acts.

He was acquitted of one charge of possession of information contrary to the Terrorism Act after the judge directed the jury to find him not guilty.

Moore, of (56) Glebe Street, Walsall, denies concealing information about acts of terrorism.

Thomason has pleaded guilty to assisting her husband in preparation of acts of terrorism, while Nash, of Bentley Lane, Walsall has admitted preparation of terrorist acts.

The trial continues.

By Bradley Hayes 16/02/2016 06:48:00