A drill rapper with a strong following of young Muslims who is on trial at Sheffield Crown Court accused of preparing terrorist acts has told the court he used the “extremist Isis” persona to impress women.
Prosecutors say that Al-Arfat Hassan, 20, who uses the name “TS”, used his music to glorify so-called Islamic State (IS) killings. He is on trial alongside one of his fans, a 16-year-old, accused of preparing terrorist acts.
Women were “drawn in” by the “jihadi persona”
Hassan said women were “drawn in” by the “jihadi persona” he was developing online in 2021.
“After the success of (his song) Satan 2.0, so many fans, including women, came in to play so I pretty much seduced the women I found attractive,” Hassan told jurors.
“With the jihadi persona a lot of Muslim women were attracted to it. That’s the act I kept up with them.”
Hassan was asked about messages to one young woman he met through his music and started a relationship with. The court heard she was 25 years old at the time, while Hassan was 18.
“It was role play”
“Throughout my communications with her I would pretend to be this crazy soldier of God, a terrorist, in other words,” he said.
“That imagery is what attracted her. It’s what led her to reach out to me in the first place.”
Asked about a message in which he talked about “shooting up the whole place for Allah” during a conversation about public transport, Hassan said he had never intended to carry it out, adding: “It’s just something I would say at that time.”
Jurors were shown a picture that Hassan sent the woman of two hands touching, featuring IS imagery, saying that the two of them would recreate the image.
He said it was “role play” and part of an “act of coming across as a terrorist”.
He said: “I’m presenting to her as someone who’s extremist Isis. My imagery is intimidation, it’s hyper-masculine.
“I’m not going to pretend to be an imam at a local mosque to pull a woman.”
Asked if this act worked, Hassan said: “It worked a lot, I was with a lot of women.”
Both defendants deny preparing terrorist acts. Hassan has also pleaded not guilty to possessing an explosive substance under suspicious circumstances, while the 16-year-old denies possessing a document likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing to commit an act of terrorism.
Prosecutors say the pair had “become heavily radicalised” by late 2021 and both “supported an extreme Islamist ideology”.
Jurors have heard they researched and planned to buy knives, balaclavas, tactical gloves and materials to make bombs as part of their plans to commit terrorist attacks.
The trial continues.
(Image: The Sheffield Law Courts, By Bencherlite – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3481864)