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...
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