Sunderland man accused of planning to fight for IS insists: 'I don't even know what terrorism is'


A Sunderland dad accused of planning to flee to Syria to fight alongside the Islamic State has told jurors: "I don't even know what terrorism is."

Mohammed Kahar was caught with a collection of documents linked to the banned organisation and is said to have promoted "holy war" using social media applications.

The 37-year-old Muslim has said his internet activities were simply religious research, and has denied having any intention of going to fight.

Kahar, of Burnville Road, Sunderland, denies 11 terrorism offences including preparation of terrorist acts, funding arrangements, support for a proscribed organisation, collection of information and dissemination of terrorist publications.

He is being tried by a jury at Newcastle Crown Court.

The dad-of-six told jurors: "I have never been violent in my life. I don't believe in violence.

"I am not into this. I was just trying to learn religion and see what people had to say about religion.

"I would never have thought downloading a book would be something illegal.

"If someone wants to know something, what do they do? They go onto Google.

"I don't even know what terrorism is in this country. I don't even know what terrorism is."

Kahar told the court he collected a lot of information on Jihad and the Islamic State from internet search engine Google and from his Facebook news feed, purely out of interest.

He said: "I wanted to know what Islamic State was, what's it got to do with religion?"

Kahar said he came across thousands of websites and pages while trawling the internet and would often download documents and books with the intention of reading them later, but had not realised how big his collection had become.

He told jurors: "I had no idea I had so much documents on my phone. Over the years I didn't realise how much documents I've got.

"I had no idea, I was shocked. Every time I would download something I would put it down to read later."

Kahar said his busy lifestyle meant many of the documents remained unread, or he only browsed some of the pages.

He said a handbook on explosives had been posted by "some idiot" on Facebook, where he mistakenly pressed a link to download it and then wrongly believed he had deleted it from his phone.

Kahar told jurors: "I would never read such a book. This one, I didn't even know I had it on my phone, I got a shock when the police showed me that."

Kahar denies prosecution claims he was planning to flee the country to fight, and denies all charges. The trial continues.