South London’s leafy district of Kennington is one of the city’s best-kept secrets. In this quiet area famous for its Georgian architecture, the average house price is more than £1 million.
It is full of young families, good schools, council housing and NHS doctors’ surgeries. Residents are proud of its strong, diverse, multi-cultural community spirit.
So one would imagine that when, in 2008, teenager Alaa Esayed found refuge here with her family from Iraq — where they had faced persecution, suicide bombings, terrorist attacks and constant fear — she would have treasured her new haven.
Alaa Esayed found refuge here from Iraq in 2008 and began using her home as a base in Kennington to become the Twitter Terrorist
Offered sanctuary, housing, free education and healthcare, she and her family were at last being given an opportunity to thrive and prosper.
Instead, Esayed, who is now 22, used their Kennington home as a base from which to launch a jihadist hate campaign that has seen her dubbed the Twitter Terrorist.
From her bedroom, she posted images to Twitter of beheadings, mutilated corpses and any atrocity she could lay her hands on to promote the jihadi cause — 45,600 tweets in total, and an average of 58 a day.
The bedroom jihadist called on Muslims to murder English infidels — in effect, her neighbours, schoolmates and fellow citizens.
She called on Muslim mothers to become ‘martyrs’, to build training camps in their back gardens and to give children weapons instead of PlayStations.
What’s really terrifying is that she had 8,240 followers on her sick site of hate. Yesterday Esayed was jailed for three-and-a-half years, after academics singled out her Twitter account as one of the most influential hate campaigns in the Islamist world.
It is completely bewildering that a young girl fleeing persecution could have so cruelly turned on the very country that offered her and her family safety and a new life.
In Iraq this young woman feared for her life and was treated like a second-class citizen. Here she was educated, protected and nurtured.
And yet she still claimed: ‘I wish to be a martyr for the land of jihad and am happy to answer the one call and my Lord help me attain what I want, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.’
She has not just betrayed this country, but every decent, law-abiding Muslim who cherishes our freedoms. When she leaves prison, she should be given a one-way ticket back to Iraq — and never be allowed near our shores again.