Armed police were called to a Wiltshire hill fort because a member of the public thought one shirt displayed an Isis logo
Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard armed police were called to Barbury Castle, an Iron Age hill fort in Wiltshire, after a member of the public called police in the belief that his T-shirt displayed an Isis symbol on 30 Mai.
Al-Jayoosi, of Swindon, told officers the logo did not relate to the terrorist group and was a “symbol of resistance in Palestine”, and was not arrested after saying he would get rid of the T-shirt.
But he kept the item and wore it during a trip to Belfast days later, and told relatives he had previously gone to the Israeli embassy in London and “looked into the eyes of armed men”.
Au 8 juin, Al-Jayoosi checked into a hotel in the Golders Green district of London, which is known for having a large Jewish population.
He wore the T-shirts in the area that evening and the following day, and the Metropolitan Police received a report of a “Muslim male wearing a T-shirt with a Palestinian Islamic Jihad logo and carrying a large rucksack”.
Al-Jayoosi was traced to the hotel and arrested. The court heard that he told police he was “shocked” and that his intention had not been to support terrorism.
He said he designed T-shirts online as a hobby and wanted them to draw attention to the “tragedy of what’s happening”.
He pleaded guilty to four counts of wearing an article that supports a terrorist group at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.
Chief magistrate Paul Goldspring sentenced him to 16 weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, meaning he will not go to prison if he complies with conditions and commits no further offences in that time.
The judge said Al-Jayoosi’s actions had aroused suspicion that he was a supporter of a terrorist group and deliberately targeted a Jewish area.
“There are many, many organisations that support the cause of the Palestinian people that have not been proscribed, because they do so in an appropriate and fair way,” he told the defendant.
“The prosecution is not about supporting the cause of the Palestinian people, it is about groups that act in ways that are violent and we should all abhor.”
District judge Goldspring said Al-Jayoosi had ignored “multiple warnings from police, family and friends” to change his behaviour and “caused a great deal of harm”.
“There are many ways you could have expressed your support for the cause without ending up in court today,” he told the defendant.
The court heard that Al-Jayoosi’s T-shirts indicated support for Hamas’s Izz al-Din al-Qassem Brigades and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
Both groups were proscribed as terrorist organisations by the British government in 2001, and were involved in the May Israel-Gaza conflict.
Al-Jayoosi had designed the T-shirts himself earlier this year, and had them printed through an online service, while making hundreds of online searches relating to Israel and Jews.
Relatives and friends had told Al-Jayoosi to stop designing and wearing the T-shirts, with one sending him the government’s list of proscribed terrorist groups and writing: “Have you read what I just sent you or are you stupid, why are you so eager to get locked up?"
A defence barrister said Al-Jayoosi had been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and had an interest in “current events and social injustices”, previously making a T-shirt showing a starving child in Yemen.
The court heard that he lost his job after his arrest and may struggle to find employment in future because of his conviction for terror offences.
District judge Goldspring ordered Al-Jayoosi to carry out a 60-day programme on “reducing the risk of radicalisation”, 100 hours of unpaid work and imposed a two-year exclusion order banning him from visiting Golders Green.
The case had been investigated by the Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command.
The Terrorism Act 2000 makes it illegal to wear an item of clothing in a public place that suggests they are a member or supporter of a terrorist group. The offence is punishable by a fine or a prison term of up to six months.
The British government has banned 77 groups under the same law, including Isis, al-Qaeda and other jihadist groups, as well as neo-Nazi and separatist organisations.