Re­vealed: the Porsche driv­ing Bri­tish lawyer killing for ISIS

Com­plain­ing about air strikes as he hides out with his wife and tod­dler son in the ru­ined Syr­ian city of Raqqa...

The Scottish Mail on Sunday - - News - By Omar Wahid and Ross Slater

A BRI­TISH Is­lamic State fa­natic who has spent two years fight­ing in the Syr­ian city of Raqqa is a for­mer Porsche-driv­ing bar­ris­ter, The Mail on Sun­day can re­veal.

Abu Adam Al-Bri­tani de­scribed last week how the ISIS strong­hold – the scene of some of the ter­ror group’s most ap­palling atroc­i­ties – had been ‘oblit­er­ated’ in coali­tion air strikes and said US-backed forces were now clos­ing in on him and his fel­low mil­i­tants.

In a piti­ful 72-minute rant, he said life was so bleak that stray cats and dogs had be­come fat by feast­ing on ‘dead hu­man flesh’. The ter­ror­ist

He en­cour­aged friends to join him in ji­had

gave few clues to his real iden­tity on the tape, posted on en­crypted mes­sag­ing app Tele­gram, which ISIS uses to spread pro­pa­ganda.

But The Mail on Sun­day has learned he is 39-year-old Yaser Iqbal, a mar­ried lawyer from Birm­ing­ham who, before mov­ing to Syria, boasted he earned more in a day than most do in a month.

In the record­ing Iqbal em­pha­sised his story does not con­form to the ji­hadi stereo­type, say­ing of his old life: ‘I was not a loser… I had a Porsche, I was do­ing very well in my life… I was look­ing for­ward to sav­ing up to buy a villa and a Lam­borgh­ini.’ Af­ter prac­tis­ing as a bar­ris­ter in London he be­came a solic­i­tor spe­cial­is­ing in im­mi­gra­tion, and ran a suc­ces­sion of firms, in­clud­ing one in Har­row, North West London.

It is un­clear just what prompted him to give up his suc­cess­ful life, though he said he came to re­gard his UK ex­is­tence as ‘rub­bish’. He crit­i­cises West­ern cul­ture, de­scrib­ing Bri­tain as ‘a coun­try of dogs’.

In 2010, Iqbal was one of 24 prom­i­nent Mus­lims who con­trib­uted to a book called ‘7/7 Mus­lim Per­spec­tives’ in which they re­flected on the car­nage caused by the London sui­cide bombers five years ear­lier. De­scribed as a bar­ris­ter in Birm­ing­ham, he wrote: ‘I am not point­ing to­wards some con­spir­acy the­ory but what I am pre­sent­ing is my view that the ex­pla­na­tion as to the real per­pe­tra­tors of 7/7 is not as sim­ple as most peo­ple are led to be­lieve.’

Neigh­bours in Birm­ing­ham said

last night that Iqbal, who has a con­vic­tion for drink driv­ing, en­cour­aged his for­mer friends to ‘join him in ji­had’.

How­ever before he quit Bri­tain four years ago, ini­tially for Saudi Ara­bia, he was held in high re­gard in his neigh­bour­hood. Lo­cals de­scribed him in glow­ing terms. For some he had been the man to help re­solve their im­mi­gra­tion is­sues and for many he was a shin­ing ex­am­ple of what was pos­si­ble in Bri­tish so­ci­ety.

One neigh­bour said: ‘He’s a lovely man and very hum­ble. He would al­ways be will­ing to help you with ad­vice. He is not ly­ing when he says he earned more in a day than many do in a month and he drove a sil­ver Porsche. It was a Boxster.’

Iqbal lives with his teacher wife Wa­jda, 37, and tod­dler son, Adam, and is among the last 300 ISIS fight­ers left in Raqqa. The city – the group’s de facto cap­i­tal whose fall is now said to be im­mi­nent – is syn­ony­mous with cru­elty and bar­barism, with be­head­ings and other atroc­i­ties part of ev­ery­day life.

Yet in his rant, Iqbal com­plains bit­terly about the air strikes and says he wants to tell the world of their hor­ror. He said streets were lit­tered with bod­ies as peo­ple were too scared to go out to bury them for fear of be­ing hit by mis­siles. And yet he also claims: ‘I would not trade the place I am in for any other place in the world.’

In an­other posted record­ing, this time spo­ken in Iqbal’s na­tive tongue of Pun­jabi, he ad­dresses his par­ents, urg­ing them not to worry about him, but to see his fate – of be­ing in the cap­i­tal of the Caliphate – as an honour. In the back­ground his tod­dler son can be heard.

A for­mer ac­quain­tance said: ‘He and his wife came back here the Ra­madan before last and he kept talk­ing about how ev­ery­thing in this coun­try was haram [for­bid­den].

Iqbal is one of 300 ISIS fight­ers left in Raqqa

Af­ter that I heard he was tex­ting friends here on the Tele­gram ser­vice and telling them to come and join him on ji­had.’

The se­cu­rity ser­vices are analysing Iqbal’s record­ings. A year ago po­lice raided his Birm­ing­ham home and that of his par­ents.

His sis­ter, who asked not be named, said the fam­ily in­formed the au­thor­i­ties when he con­tacted them. She said they had tried to pro­tect the chil­dren and his fa­ther, who was un­well, from the truth.

Her hus­band added: ‘I do not want the ac­tions of some f ****** lu­natic af­fect­ing my fam­ily. If he wants to put au­dios out there for the whole world, that’s his busi­ness but no­body cares what he has to say.’

West Mid­lands Po­lice de­clined to com­ment on the mat­ter.

THE CALIPHATE: IS fight­ers roam around Raqqa in 2014

An ex­tract from the 72-minute au­dio rant the for­mer lawyer sent on an en­crypted mes­sag­ing app of­ten used by ter­ror­ists

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