Police hunt jihadist masterminds who arranged for British students to travel to Syria to fight – including 17 year-old Aseel Muthana, believed to be the youngest Briton so far to join Islamist terror networks
Counter-terrorism officers are hunting the jihadist masterminds who arranged for British students, including a teenage schoolboy, to travel to Syria to fight.
Aseel Muthana, pictured here for the first time, is, at the age of 17, believed to be the youngest Briton so far to join Islamist terror networks operating in Syria and Iraq.
His elder brother Nasser Muthana, 20, appeared on Friday in a chilling propaganda video for the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (Isis), just two days after David Cameron warned of the threat posed by Britons returning from jihad.
Nasser Muthana, 20, Aseel Muthana’s elder brother (Geoff Caddick)
His father Ahmed Muthana said on Saturday that his boys, both clever students with excellent career prospects, had been “brainwashed” in Britain into going to Syria. Mr Muthana insisted that their trips must have been arranged by terrorist recruiters.
In a series of further developments, amid a growing sense of crisis over the numbers being recruited to the jihadist cause, The Sunday Telegraph can disclose:
• the Muthana brothers were part of a wider network that included two friends arrested months ago on their return from the Middle East;
• a second Briton in the Isis video was identified as Reyaad Khan, 20. He studied in sixth form with Nasser Muthana at Cardiff’s Cantonian High School;
Brother Abu Dujana al Hindi, left, has been identified as Reyaad Khan
• the London-born son of a lieutenant to Osama bin Laden, who is based in a Syrian terrorist camp, has threatened to carry out bombings and beheadings in Britain;
• one of the jihadists pictured in the Isis recruitment video is an Australian citizen at the centre of a plot to blow up the Melbourne Cricket Ground during an Australian Rules final;
• the death of the first British jihadist killed in fighting in Iraq’s civil war;
• police last week closed a meeting organised by Anjem Choudary;
• in a new government crackdown, schools could be closed or taken over if they fail to promote British values;
• Lord Carlile, the Government’s former anti-terrorism adviser, criticised the Home Office for scrapping special orders to deal with terrorism suspects.
Ahmed Muthana, 57, said yesterday that his sons’ trips to Syria must have been funded and organised by outsiders.
He had given Nasser, a straight-A student with a place at university to study medicine, just £100 to go to an Islamic seminar in Shrewsbury in November.
Instead, his son took a convoluted and expensive route to Syria. Nasser is now known to have first gone from Cardiff to Coventry by train and from there taken another train to Gatwick.
From there he caught a flight to Istanbul and is thought to have made his way overland to Syria. Aseel left the home in February and had secretly obtained a second passport because his father kept his original passport locked away and still has it.
The family that the two brothers left behind (Christopher Jones)
Aseel flew to Cyprus before joining his brother in Syria.
Mr Muthana said yesterday: “Who is behind this? Who is paying for my sons to go and risk their lives fighting in a war that doesn’t concern them?
“Behind this are Islamic radicals, hiding behind the scenes, influencing the minds of young people.
“It is not members of the Yemeni community in Cardiff doing this. They come from outside I’m sure. But someone is persuading them, brainwashing them, helping them travel, arranging tickets.”
Police have searched the family home and taken away computers and mobile phones as they hunt for other members of the cell.
Two of Nasser’s friends, who are believed to have travelled with him, were arrested months ago on their return from Syria on suspicion of attending a terrorist training camp.
Both men, aged 19 and 23, have been released without charge. The father of one of the boys said his son had visited Syria with a refugee charity and had been an innocent victim, who “didn’t do anything wrong”.
One of the men appearing with Nasser Muthana in the video was disclosed yesterday to be Zakaryah Raad, an Australian citizen found guilty in Sydney last year of giving 40 lashes to a fellow Muslim as punishment for drinking.
Members of the Raad family were also involved in a plot to blow up the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Sir Peter Fahy, the chief constable of Greater Manchester Police and lead officer on the Government’s counter-terrorism strategy, said yesterday an estimated 500 Britons had travelled to Syria and Iraq.
His estimate was about a fifth higher than that previously given by William Hague, the Foreign Secretary.
Sir Peter said: “There is a huge amount of effort going on both abroad and in this country to identify people who may have gone out there.”
He said authorities were trying to track their movements and make sure they are detained when they try to return.
In an apparent crackdown on radical preachers, police last week disbanded a meeting organised in Slough by Anjem Choudary, a controversial cleric blamed for indoctrinating would-be terrorists.
Mr Choudary claimed yesterday that he thought he recognised some of the men in the Isis recruitment video but he was unsure about the circumstances.
The crackdown on Choudary coincides with the announcement today of new measures to combat extremism in schools.
A major overhaul of Ofsted inspections will see 20,000 schools in England required to step in to challenge parents, teachers or pupils who express support for radical Islamic practices and other beliefs contrary to the fundamental tenets of British society.
If inspectors find schools are failing to meet the new requirement, head teachers and governors could be sacked or the school closed.
But Lord Carlile, the former official reviewer of terrorism legislation, criticised the Coalition for scrapping Control Orders, which he said had been effective in keeping the public safe from terror suspects who could not be charged due to lack of evidence.
Control orders were replaced by Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (TPims) but those came with a time limit. Lord Carlile disclosed yesterday that not a single terror suspect in Britain was subject to a TPim.
Dr Liam Fox, the former defence secretary, also waded into the row and warned that security forces must “redouble” efforts to stop British-born jihadists returning home to kill citizens in the UK.
In an article for the Telegraph website, he said: “When young jihadists develop the habit for hating it can be hard to break.
“Our security forces know that many do not lack the will to kill us, merely the capability. We will have to redouble our efforts to ensure that remains the case.”
via – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/10917357/The-brilliant-brothers-who-left-British-suburb-for-jihad-in-Syria.html
My Thoughts on this- Its not just down to Anjem Choudary, its becoming obvious that other radical hate preachers are involved In the radicalisation of young Muslim men going to Syria/Iraq, They are very well hidden and so much below the radar the authorities have no clue. Now is the time for the Muslim Communities to speak out and expose them Remember it’s your son’s,Daughters,nephews,Grandsons that are being targeted by these Hate Preachers… #NewDayStarts