- Ednane Mahmood, 19, who tried to travel to Syria to join IS has been jailed
- Was convicted last month of attempting to go to commit acts of terrorism
- Left a note for his family which said he'd 'gone to fight in cause of Allah'
- But he never got to Syria and was persuaded by his brother to return home
University student Ednane Mahmood, 19, from Blackburn, Lancashire, was convicted last month of trying to travel abroad to commit acts of terrorism
A teenage British Muslim who attempted to travel to Syria to join ISIS has been jailed for four years.
University student Ednane Mahmood, 19, from Blackburn, Lancashire, was convicted last month of trying to travel abroad to commit acts of terrorism.
He boarded an EasyJet flight from Manchester Airport to Bulgaria last year with little money and few possessions and left a letter for his family which stated he had 'gone to fight in the cause of Allah'.
But the court heard he never got to Syria, and on September 20, from an Internet cafe, he was in Twitter communication with his brother who persuaded him to come back to the UK.
The court was told the teenager's interest in Syria and ISIS developed over time from 2012 and in the month before his departure his internet searches became 'increasingly acute'.
On Facebook, he posted a message about a video promoting ISIS as 'unstoppable' and wrote 'I love this vid' and also posted links to ISIS videos showing militants shooting soldiers and suicide bombers.
In August 2014 he appeared to describe the terror group as the 'victorious group' and later that month he searched YouTube over the execution of American journalist James Foley who was beheaded by ISIS.
On August 31, 2014, he posted an image on Facebook with the words, 'I wish I could fight in the cause of Allah and then be killed, and then fight, and then be killed, and then fight, and then be killed.'
He eventually started looked up cheap flights to Bulgaria and Turkey after he downloaded a video which began with David Cameron talking about ISIS before images showing the beheading of Mr Haines.
Two days later, he left his family home by taxi in the early hours of September 18, 2014 and boarded a flight to Sofia from Manchester for £290.
He left a note for his family which said: 'I have already left the country, so I am writing to you to inform you about why I have left my most beloved family, comfort and luxury.
'When Muslims have stood up to protect their religion Islam, the disbelievers and the hypocrites have anyways bombed and killed those Muslims.
'Today I have left comfort and luxury in order to strive, struggle and fight in the cause of the almighty.
My mentality is different to yours. I have understood this life is nothing and we should not be too attached to this life, the true life is in the hereafter.
We may think it is a long time away on the day of judgement we will say we lived on this earth for a day.
'You may never understand, or you may understand why I left. I do not care what anyone will think of me, but people will realise reality when death overtakes them.'
Evidence: The teenager wrote to his family telling them he was off to Syria to die as a martyr
Message: He told his parents and siblings: 'You may never understand, or you may understand why I left. I do not care what anyone will think of me, but people will realise reality when death overtakes them'
But days later after travelling to Bulgaria and taking a bus to Turkey he changed his mind after his brother convinced him to come home.
Mahmood, who had been studying Arabic at the University of Central Lancashire, told officers he had been upset by the conflict and news coverage and had wanted to help.
He had claimed he became 'stranded' on the Turkey side of the border, alone, upset and running out of money, although there was evidence he had contact numbers for people smugglers.
Jailed: Mahmood, 19, who attempted to travel to Syria to join ISIS, has been imprisoned for four years
Sentencing him, Judge Michael Henshell said the defendant's online research into Islamic State developed into a 'dangerous obsession' and ultimately he was radicalised.
He told Mahmood: 'You are still a young man. My assessment of you is you were and, to some extent, are a naive, unsophisticated individual who has so far lived a fairly sheltered life.'
Ian McMeekin, defending, said following his conviction his client had now disavowed the ideals of ISIS and had accepted he had been 'brainwashed' by its propaganda.
He said: 'He had real promise academically and in terms of the community.
He was well intentioned in the beginning but became distracted and this led to a distorted view of things.'
Judge Henshell said it was 'a great shame' that his rejection of Islamic State had not come earlier.
Praising his family, the judge told Mahmood: 'By their actions they prevented you from taking an irrevocable step which would have resulted in a victory for the barbaric forces that, as you say, had brainwashed you.'
Mahmood was also convicted of two counts of disseminating terrorist publications by sending two internet links of material to another individual.
He was sentenced to six months each in prison, to run concurrently.
Mahmood will only be released halfway through his sentence if the Parole Board is satisfied he no longer poses a risk to the public.
He will remain on licence for a year following his release.
Following sentencing, Detective Chief Superintendent Tony Mole of the North West Counter Terrorism Unit said: 'This young man's family did the right thing and persuaded him to come back. In fact they may well have saved people's lives - who is to say what he was actually going to get involved in when he joined the organisation.'