A PRIMARY school teacher has been banned from the classroom after sending thousands of pounds to ISIS and other hate groups.
Miriam Sebbagh, 52, was found to have made five payments worth £2,500 to someone linked to Anjem Choudary‘s banned terrorist organisation Al-Muhajiroun.
Ms Sebbagh who worked at Hunwick Primary School, County Durham was arrested by Counter Terrorism Policing North East in 2017, on suspicion of terror offences. Anjem Choudary
She was not charged but in 2018, counter-terrorism police seized £4,670 from her safe, which was “terrorist cash…intended to be used in the support of terrorism.”
The counter-terrorism police “maintained a high level of concern” regarding Ms Sebbagh’s state of mind, her opinions and her actions as a teacher, and submitted that her conduct should be considered by the Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA).
Dr Steven Berryman, who chaired the hearing in Coventry, said: “Ms Sebbagh initially came to the attention of CTPNE following receipt of financial intelligence, which indicated that she had made several payments to an individual linked to Al-Muhajiroun (‘ALM’) which is a proscribed terrorist organisation.
“The investigation identified that Ms Sebbagh sent 5 payments totalling £2,500 from her account to the individual.
“In addition, an analysis of accounts linked to Ms Sebbagh identified that she made numerous payments to various individuals, charities, overseas accounts and “crowd funded” charity donation platforms such as JustGiving.com, gofundme.com and BT MyDonate.”
A further seven payments totalling £1,310 were made between January 27 and July 5 2016 to an individual who is suspected to have left the UK and joined the terrorist group calling itself Islamic State.
In 2017, a payment of £100 was made to an individual believed to have married a suspected ALM member and there was an unsuccessful payment in 2015 to an individual arrested over terrorism offences, the panel was told.
The money was forfeited under the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 and Ms Sebbagh was also ordered to pay costs of £12,654.
Anjem Choudary,54, is a cleric who has inspired dozens of convicted terrorists and 15 plots over two decades.
He was jailed for 5½ years over his IS support and was freed in 2018.
During a police interview in May 2018, she stated that she regularly donated to good causes including Muslim charities as part of her faith and denied making payments to those linked to terrorism.
Reading from a report on the case, Mr Berryman added: “Despite Ms Sebbagh’s assertion that the payments she had made were charitable in nature, the only “charitable” aspects of those payments were to support fellow extremists whilst under criminal investigation for terrorism-related offences and/or to fund travel to join ISIS or others who espouse hate.”
The panel also heard Ms Sebbagh had “strongly-held views” that violent jihad was the “correct interpretation of Islamic teaching”.
Ms Sebbagh also sent four “extreme and concerning” videos to someone, one of which would be classified as a criminal offence to disseminate contrary to the Terrorism Act 2006.
Hunwick Primary School headteacher Stuart Joyce said none of the allegations concerned her employment there.
Alan Meyrick, on behalf of the Education Secretary, made the decision to ban Ms Sebbagh due to the “seriousness of the allegations found proved against her”.