British Jihadist Identified As ‘Hyper Lad’

A third Jihadist featured in an recruitment video released by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has been identified as a man who grew up in Aberdeen.

Abdul Raqib Amin settled in the northeast of Scotland with his family after travelling from Bangladesh.

As a youngster, he attended St Machar Academy in Aberdeen and friends in the city describe him as a well integrated member of society who was a keen footballer player.

Having grown up in the Froghall area of Aberdeen, he and his family moved to Leicester several years ago.

In the video posted on Youtube, Amin appears alongside two Cardiff students – Reyaad Khan and Nasser Muthana, both aged 20- urging Westerners to join the fighting in Iraq and Syria.

British jihadis
Amin appears alongside to Cardiff students in the ISIS video

ISIS has seized several cities and towns across northern and western Iraq in recent weeks in a lightning offensive which has put the Iraqi government on the back foot.

A member of Aberdeen’s Muslim community who knew Amin told Sky News: “He was more of a lad than a regular attendee at the mosque.

“He was a happy guy, played football – he was a good player and he supported Aberdeen.

“I remember him as a hyper person, energetic and loud… not the type of person you’d expect to go and do this.”

He said that the community wanted to distance themselves from Amin’s actions in Syria.

“We don’t want our community tainted because some idiot’s gone commando.”

ISI fighter stands guard at checkpoint near the city of Biji
ISIS fighters have captured many towns and cities in Iraq

Police and Cardiff’s Muslim community have been trying to establish how Khan and Muthana were lured into fighting in Iraq and Syria.

Video has emerged of notorious Saudi cleric Mohammed al Arifi preaching at Cardiff’s Al Manar mosque, attended by Khan and Muthana, as well as his brother Aseel who is also with ISIS.

Mr Arifi is banned from Switzerland for his extremist views – but has visited the UK several times.

However, trustees at the mosque have suggested the young men may have been radicalised online, rather than by members of Cardiff’s Muslim community.

The parents of both young men have said they did not know of their sons’ intentions to join the jihad and have pleaded for them to come home.

Meanwhile, Khalid Mahmood MP told Sky News that many more British Muslimsthan previously thought could have been recruited by Islamist militants.

“I imagine 1,500 certainly would be the lower end. If you look across the whole of the country, there’s been a number of people going across,” he said.

How ISIS Sells Its Militant Message To The World

There is no doubt the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is clever and highly organised in its use of social media. It has even used World Cup hashtags to trawl for potential supporters and find new followers.

But some warn against overestimating the power of ISIS’ use of the net, believing its ability to groom recruits online may be overplayed.

Either way, policing the internet to block its use by extremists is extremely hard.

Even before ISIS had won dramatic gains on the ground in Iraq it was already an established force in the world of social media.

ISIS is reactive and light years away from those early days of poor al Qaeda videos and PR.

It has Twitter and Facebook accounts and has its own app to automatically post ISIS material to the users’ Twitter accounts.

There are reports that at its height the app posted 40,000 tweets in a single day when ISIS stormed the Iraqi city of Mosul. It is believed the app has now been taken down.

The presence of Britons who have joined the fighting in the Middle East, whether in Syria or reportedly in Iraq, has also emerged via the internet.

It is easy enough for anyone to set up a Twitter account or Facebook page promoting their violent message and call to arms.

The speed with which the media leapt on the video posted online of three British members of ISIS is a graphic illustration of that.

Twitter and other social media providers have shut down a number of ISIS-affiliated accounts in recent days under rules which ban the use of threatening language or religious hatred.

For example, a fake Sky News account was leapt on and shut down after it incorrectly tweeted about the supposed death of a member of the Royal family. An account can be reported and investigated but they can just as easily be reopened under another name.

Since February 2013 the Home office says 34,000 pieces of “terrorist-related content” have been taken down. But ISIS can open an account quicker than it can be leapt on.

The Home Office can work with large internet companies to maintain a definition of what is acceptable, but in America freedom of speech is protected within the First Amendment which by definition makes publication easier in the US.

The power of the internet and its ability to promote messages and information about ISIS’ gains on the battlefield in real time is huge.

But many within the Muslim community believe it cannot act alone as a complete recruiter.

Some believe that for a young, disenfranchised Muslim to leave his life in the UK and travel to be part of the jihad, he has likely been “groomed” over a long period of time and has sat for many months discussing the arguments and counter-arguments of conflict.

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