A teenage girl who formed Britain’s first all-women terrorist cell with her mother and sister claimed she is ‘no longer a Muslim’ as she was jailed for life.
Safaa Boular, 18, became the youngest woman to be charged with a terror offence after she was arrested whilst planning a kamikaze attack at the British Museum with grenades and firearms.
Together with mother Mina Dich, 44, and sister Rizlaine, 22, Boular gloated over the terror attack at Westminster Bridge as they planned to claim more innocent victims themselves.
But Boular now claims she has become de-radicalised and was even overhead in by the trial judge confessing how much she fancied one of the lawyers in court.
She had been trained online by her fiancée Naweed Hussain, a British Pakistani who travelled to Syria to join ISIS in June 2015, and urged her to attack the Palace of Westminster before he died in an air strike.
Boular never met him face to face but he persuaded her to send him intimate pictures of herself and they were set to marry in a bizarre Skype ceremony.
He instructed her to stab strangers outside the ‘cultural jewel and most popular of tourist attractions.’
Boular originally plotted to join him in Syria where they would don suicide belts and ‘depart the world holding hands.’
But the plans were foiled when her passport was seized after she was arrested at the airport after a family holiday in Morocco.
She was then arrested and kept in custody after planning to cause carnage in Britain instead.
Safaa encouraged her older sister Rizlaine to pick up her mantle and launch a knife attack at the Palace of Westminster.
They were encouraged by Dich, a hardline fundamentalist, who drove Rizlaine around tourist hotspots and bought a selection of knives and a rucksack.
Rizlaine was shot and wounded by armed police as she and her friend Khawla Barghouthi, 21, were arrested at an address in Harlesden, northwest London, on 27 April last year.
She had downloaded a stash of extremist material published by IS and Al Qaeda as well as content from radical preachers including Anjem Choudary and Mohammed Mizanur Rahman.
Dich was arrested as she visited Safaa at a Kent detention centre later the same day.
The mother and Rizlaine admitted engaging in preparation for terrorist acts whilst Barghouti admitted failing to disclose information about an act of terrorism.
An Old Bailey jury found Safaa guilty of two counts of preparing terrorist acts and she was today (fri) sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 13 years.
She showed no reaction as Judge Mark Dennis QC announced the sentence.
Judge Dennis said: ‘It would appear that by 2012, 2013, a new theme had emerged in the family, namely Mina Dich’s increasing move towards a conservative and ultimately more extreme version of the Islamic faith.
‘This affected not only her mindset and approach to daily life.. but also that of her daughters.
‘It is apparent that the defendant and Rizlaine became increasingly exposed to these exteremist views.
‘Her response to a question during evidence when asked her view of IS executions was not to condemn or show any disapproval but rather to justify it by referring to the US – an approach which reflects entrenched ideological views which plainly, just a month or so ago, still remained.
‘As her evidence before the jury demonstrated, she is a bright, very articulate person who is well able to stand up to anyone and choose her own path.
‘It was apparent that she knew what she was doing and acted with open eyes able to form her own intention.’
The judge said Safaa had a ‘leading role’ in the terror plans, and if it hadn’t been for online security officers the attacks ‘would have occurred’.
Joel Bennathan QC, defending told the judge that Safaa had not only been de-radicalised but was ‘no longer a Muslim’.
Mr Bennathan said: ‘The environment in which this young woman became drawn into radical Islamist terrorism was a family which had the combination of a frayed, neglectful mother and a radicalsed sister, clearly radicalised before her.
‘The fact she has been removed from that sphere is a significant factor which has led on to other things, namely… she no longer has that mindset.
‘She was in a terribly damaging household.’
Mr Bennathan also mentioned an ‘unfortunate moment’ in court where the judge overheard a casual chat between Safaa and her sister about ‘attractions to a male member of those present in court’, citing this as evidence she was no longer a fundamentalist.
Safaa was only 15 years old when she found her way to a ‘radical website’ where she was groomed, firstly by a female IS recruiter – who was later killed in a dron strike – and then by Hussain.
Safaa normally wore a full-body burka but wore Western clothes throughout her trial.
Her mother had brought up Safaa and Rizlaine up as strict Muslims and forced Safaa to wear a full-length burka and took her phone away after catching her chatting to boys on her mobile when she was aged 13.
Safaa called Childline and ran away from home in 2014 after feeling ‘crazy, jealous’ at schoolfriends who could talk to boys and ‘wear what they wanted’.
But by now Rizlaine had become increasingly radicalised in the toxic atmosphere home where it was normal to blame the sins of the world on the ‘kafir’ and the decadence of the West.
Two months after Safaa ran away from home in August 2014, Rizlaine was caught trying to join ISIS in Istanbul and flown back to the UK.
By the time of the Paris terror attacks in November 2015 Safaa too was fully radicalised and in contact with prolific ISIS recruiter Umm Isa Al-Amriki who was living there.
Al-Amriki was part of a team who were persuading young women from around the world to join them in Syria as fighters and mothers of a new generation of jihadis.
‘As I was covered up I faced a lot of discrimination and a lot of people calling me names in the streets here like ninja, umbrella and postbox,’ said Safaa.
‘But there, the women are the same.
‘She showed me videos where it was Eid in Islamic State and they would give sweets to children and the children were very happy and they were well looked after and everyone was equal.’
Among the hundreds of online ISIS friends she developed was British jihadi Hussain, whom she first got in touch with around three months before being stopped at the airport.
They never met face-to-face but chatted extensively over social media, with Hussain sending dozens of photos, including images of himself at the scenes of executions.
Boular said she was ‘flattered’ when Hussain confessed his undying love.
She explained that her marriage to Hussain consisted of ‘this kind of online ceremony’ involving two witnesses and a Sheikh acting as her guardian because she had no say.
‘It was something I didn’t really understand and I just went along with it,’ she added.
Hussain had sent some of the same images to a Page 3 girl he had also tried to lure to Syria.
But it was Safaa’s intention to meet up Hussain and ‘to offer her services, together with her life, to engage in acts of terrorism’.
They openly discussed Safaa wearing a suicide belt to use if threatened by non-believers.
‘Don’t eva b hesitant 2 pull da pin ok,’ he instructed.
‘Ur honour is worth more than any kaafirs life.’
The pair also bonded over their shared love of TV quiz shows ‘Deal Or No Deal’ and ‘The Chase.’
Around £3,000 was sent to Rizlaine to fund the journey of both women to Syria.
Safaa was interviewed after she was stopped at the airport on 19 August 2016 and told police she had intended to go to Syria and live under sharia law
Her passport was seized and during a search of her home in Vauxhall officers confiscated a phone she said she had been using to contact Hussain.
Two days later Dich alerted the police to report Safaa and Rizlaine missing.
Given the fact that both girls had previously expressed a desire to travel to Syria, officers quickly mounted a search and located them at a northwest London hostel.
By the end of the year MI5 had deployed role players to chat first with Hussain and then, following his death last April, Boular.
Without travel documents Safaa turned her attentions to plotting a terror attack in Britain.
Safaa wanted to cause carnage at the British Museum and in December 2016, she was spotted in full Islamic dress carrying out reconnaissance outside the MI6 building near her home, strolling up and down past the entrance and snapping a selfie.
The family was bugged at their home and they were recorded laughing about over the Westminster Bridge attack.
Safaa giggled as she sarcastically that she wanted to take flowers to the site where five people died on March 22, 2017.
Dich guffaws as her daughter says: ‘Mum, if they put flowers there can we go and put flowers there as well and candles?’
Boular was told of Hussain’s death by a trained role player from the security services claiming to be his commander in Syria.
All three women can be heard wailing and crying at the news before one of them says: ‘Rejoice! He is a martyr.’
Rizlaine then tells her sister: ‘Hey listen, many people envy you. You should be jealous of what he had.’
All three can also be heard praying in Arabic, with Dich heard commenting that Hussain ‘is in Paradise’.
Rizlaine told her sister ‘He’s waiting for you’ and Dich told the sobbing teenager that they were ‘so proud’ of her.
She said her daughter ‘should be happy’ that Hussain had been martyred.
The teenager replied that she was.
‘Thanks to God,’ she said, adding: ‘I love him so much.’
She was charged over her failed attempt to go to Syria just over a week after Hussain’s death, on 12 April, and remanded into secure accommodation at Medway Secure Training Unit in Kent.
A subsequent search of her home revealed a secret phone stashed inside a cushion which had been delivered by Hussain’s sister, Tahzeem, in a heart-shaped box from her home in Coventry.
Rizlaine told police back in August 2016 that she had intended to travel to Syria with her younger sister but she was formally dropped from the investigation in December of that year.
There was no indication Dich had played any part in Safaa’s radicalisation or activity and investigators considered her to be just like any other concerned mother when she reported the girls missing.
But they then found extremist material on her phone in late 2016 and it quickly became apparent she not only encouraged but took an actively role in her daughters’ terrorist plots.
Recorded telephone calls between the siblings whilst Safaa was behind bars showed her encouraging Rizlaine to ‘carry the torch forward in her stead’.
Rizlaine told her younger sister on 24 April: ‘It’s going to be like me and a few sisters and stuff and we’re just gonna have fun.
‘It’s basically gonna be like a tea party and stuff.’
She added: ‘It’s gonna be fun it’s going to be on erm Thursday we’re gonna have this party.’
Dich drove her eldest daughter around major London landmarks near Westminster Bridge in her silver Vauxhall Astra as the pair carried out ‘hostile reconnaissance’ the following day.
On 26 April, the pair were seen buying knives and a rucksack on Wandsworth Road, southwest London.
Dich then carried out a series of U-turns in an attempt to throw counter terror officers off her trail as she drove home to Armada House in Lambeth.
Rizlaine travelled to her friend Barghouti’s home in Harlesden the following day where they discussed and practised carrying out a knife attack.
She voiced concerns that she would be too small to target a group of males and would opt instead for women or a man on his own.
Rizlaine also told Barghouti: ‘If I get tasered I’m asking that Allah gives me a heart attack.’
Barghouthi then asked: ‘How are you going to do it? What if they are faster than you?’
Boular replied: ‘I’ll put the knife into (inaudible) heart instead.’
Police moved in to arrest the pair and Rizlaine was shot and injured.
Dich was arrested as she visited Safaa at the Medway detention centre later the same day.
Boular, of St George’s Wharf, Lambeth, southwest London, denied two counts of engaging in preparation for terrorist acts but was convicted of both charges by the jury.
She was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 13 years.
Rizlaine was jailed for life with a minimum term of 16 years whilst Dich was jailed for six years and nine months last week.
Social worker Barghouthi had been due to be sentenced alongside them but the matter was adjourned after the issue of automatic deportation was raised in her case.
Judge Dennis jailed her for two years and four months meaning she will be thrown out of the country at the end of that sentence.