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A former mosque leader from Brighton is suspected of giving a speech in front of young children saying armed conflict and violence was their ‘religious obligation’, a court heard.

Abu Bakr Deghayes is charged with encouraging terrorism by saying ‘Jihad is compulsory’ at evening prayers and making stabbing motions.

The 53-year-old allegedly told the congregation that ‘scholars fought the enemies of Allah’.

Prosecutors allege Deghayes encouraged violence through a 20-minute speech at the mosque in Brighton, East Sussex, last November during evening prayers at around 8pm.

He faces a starting point of four years in prison if found guilty of the alleged offences, the court heard.

Deghayes was charged on suspicion of encouraging the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism.

Abu Bakr Deghayes, 53, was charged following an investigation relating to Islamist terrorism

Abu Bakr Deghayes, 53, was charged following an investigation relating to Islamist terrorism

Abu Bakr Deghayes, 53, was charged following an investigation relating to Islamist terrorism

At Westminster Magistrates’ Court today, Deghayes appeared in the dock and entered a not guilty plea after being charged by Counter Terrorism Policing South East (CTPSE) and Sussex Police yesterday.

It was put to him in a court indictment that on November 1 last year he published statements, namely giving a speech, present at evening prayers at Dyke Road Mosque in Brighton.

It is said he intended or was reckless as to whether members of the public would be directly or indirectly encouraged to prepare or instigate acts of terrorism, the charge states.

Prosecutor Simon Drew said: ‘At Brighton Mosque on November 1 after evening prayers Mr Deghayes, uninvited, gave a speech to all who was present – that includes some children and young adults.

‘Within that speech he instructs those present that armed conflict was their religious obligation.’

Mr Deghayes had previously been a leader at al-Quds mosque in Brighton, pictured here

Mr Deghayes had previously been a leader at al-Quds mosque in Brighton, pictured here

Mr Deghayes had previously been a leader at al-Quds mosque in Brighton, pictured here

He added: ‘The speech is approximately 20 minutes long. The relevant section comes near the end. It’s the culmination of the speech.

‘Within that speech, Mr Deghayes quotes an important scholar in an attempt to draw meaning from that scholar and to bring theological legitimacy to his speech.

‘He says that scholars fought the enemies of Allah. He then addresses the congregation and says Jihad is compulsory on you and repeats that several times.

‘He says Jihad is by the sword and as he says that he makes a stabbing motion.

‘It’s the combination of those words that are quite clear and deliberately used that forms the encouraging terrorism charge.’

Thomas Wainwright, defending, said Deghayes did not intend to encourage violence with his speech and that he had been misunderstood.

He told the court: ‘This will be contested at trial. Mr Deghayes says there was no intention to encourage violence or terrorism and he did not see any risk that it would be taken that way. The words have been misunderstood.’

Deghayes, from Saltdean near Brighton, who appeared in court in person, was granted conditional bail by Deputy Chief Magistrate Tan Ikram.

The defendant was told that he must next appear at the Old Bailey for a preliminary hearing in August.

Mr Deghayes was previously a leader at al-Quds mosque in Brighton.

Source: Daily Mail UK

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