Imam who said martyrdom better than school jailed for supporting Islamic State

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A British hate preacher who told children that martyrdom was better than school has been jailed for six-and-a-half years for supporting the Islamic State terror group.

Imam Kamran Hussain, 40, was secretly recorded by an undercover officer making a series of radical sermons over four months last year.

After he was arrested, the defendant argued the ability to discuss "difficult concepts in a challenging world" was an essential part of religion and claimed he was exercising his right to freedom of speech.

But following a trial at the Old Bailey, Hussain, from Tunstall, Staffordshire, was found guilty of two charges of supporting IS and six of encouraging terrorism on dates between June and September last year.

Mitigating, Michael Ivers QC said his client was no Anjem Choudary, the high profile and influential preacher who was jailed for five-and-a-half years in 2016 for drumming up support for IS.

Before the trial, no-one had even heard of Hussain who preached at a very small mosque, he said.

Sentencing, Judge Rebecca Poulet QC said he had preached "hatred and division".

His encouragement of terrorism and support for IS was "calculated and intentional" at a time of "terrible terrorist incidents", she said.

Judge Poulet said: "In my judgment these sermons represented serious and persistent although frequently indirect encouragement to acts of terrorism."