Father warned police over ISIS girls fears

The father of a teenager who fled to Syria to join ISIS before three school friends followed suit has said he warned police to monitor them.

Mohammad Uddin, whose daughter Sharmeena Begum is believed to have travelled to Turkey in December before crossing to the war-torn country, said the 15-year-old was close friends with Shamima Begum, 15, Kadiza Sultana, 16, and Amira Abase, 15.

His claim emerged as footage appeared of a man appearing to help the three girls into Syria from Turkey.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has confirmed a foreign spy had been detained on suspicion of helping the girls travel to Syria to become jihadi brides.

Mr Uddin, 38, said he warned police and the girls’ school, Bethnal Green Academy, in London, to watch the trio after Sharmeena’s disappearance.

He described his daughter as an ordinary teenager who loved EastEnders, shopping and make-up and wanted to be a doctor, but who began taking a serious interest in Islam after her mother died in January last year.

Mr Uddin said: “I said to officers, ‘Keep an eye on the three girls, maybe they’ll give you a clue.’ Shamima, Kadiza and Amira were her closest friends.

“I was pretty sure when my daughter went missing that the four girls would have gone together. And when I realised (they hadn’t) I was surprised.”

Glasgow student Aqsa Mahmood, 20, is understood to have played a key role in luring the trio to the war zone.

She is feared to have groomed the impressionable teenagers over Twitter.

It emerged last week that Mahmood, who went to the city’s posh Craigholme School for girls, will be prosecuted if she ever returns to the UK.

The three girls are believed to have paid more than £1,000 in cash to a travel agent for their flights to Turkey and were also caught on CCTV at a bus station in Istanbul the same day they left their homes.

In relation to the dad’s damaging claims, Scotland Yard reiterated a statement issued last Saturday, saying police received reports that a 15-year-old girl from Bethnal Green Academy left the UK for Syria on December 6, and three days later officers interviewed seven of her friends at the school, including Shamima Begum, Kadiza Sultana and Amira Abase.

A Met spokesman said: “There was no indication that any of the girls spoken to were in any way vulnerable or indeed radicalised. There was no indication that any of the girls were at risk.”

Cancel