Sunderland man who tweeted Islamic State support jailed

Mohammed Zahir Khan, who has been jailed. Credit: Counter Terrorism Policing North East

A shopkeeper who tweeted in support of Islamic State and called for Shia Muslims to be burnt to death has been jailed for four-and-a-half years.

Mohammed Zahir Khan, 40, of Salisbury Street, Sunderland, admitted encouraging acts of terror and inciting religious hatred via his social media accounts.

The father-of-one, originally from Birmingham, had served long sentences in the past for drugs supply offences and moved to the north east to make a break from gangs.

But he spread hatred on Twitter, saying "death to shias ... death to every single one of them", describing them as "dirty and filthy shiite scum" and calling for them to be burnt alive.

He also tweeted on January 2 2017: "Welcome to the year of fear, IS will make this one the deadliest ever. Mr Kuffar (non-believers) prepare for real war."

In March last year he posted on Facebook a statement about martyrs and the flag associated with Islamic State.

He also re-posted a tweet which included an IS call to attack US bases in Bahrain.

Judge Paul Sloan QC told him:

Since his arrest and being held on remand, Khan's views have developed in a more positive direction, his prison Imam wrote to the court.

Outside court, Detective Superintendent Simon Atkinson, head of investigations at Counter Terrorism Policing North East, said: