|The Sunday Telegraph: Fundamentalist Groups Recruit More Britons to Fight in Syria |
Aug 26, 2012
MANCHESTER, BRITAIN, (SANA)- Fundamentalist groups are recruiting increasing numbers of young Britons to head to Syria and fight along the armed terrorist groups, according to the British newspaper of the Sunday Telegraph.
An investigation by the Sunday Telegraph published on Saturday, revealed that "fundamentalist groups in the Syrian civil war are recruiting growing numbers of young people from Britain with no previous links to the country," noting that many of those are from Pakistani and Sudanese origins.
The investigation, prepared by Andrew Gilligan, has established that the young British people travelling to Syria are mainly of Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Sudanese parentage and are separate from the hundreds of British residents of Syrian descent who have been recruited by those groups and sent to Syria.
The Sunday Telegraph said "MPs, community leaders and anti-extremism campaigners are deeply worried that a new generation is being radicalised in Syria, in the same way as British bombers and terror plotters of the past decade were schooled along the Afghan-Pakistan border. But the British security authorities appear to be taking little or no action."
The investigation referred to one of those 'Jihadi Britons' called Alshafie Elsheikh, 23, from White City in west London, who, the newspapers said, travelled to Syria this spring, according to Dr Salah al Bander, a former Liberal Democrat councilor and director of the Sudanese Diaspora and Islamism Project at the Sudan Civic Foundation.
The newspaper quoted al-Bander as saying that Elsheikh "is of Sudanese, not Syrian, ancestry - and told Dr al Bander that he knew of more than 20 others like him preparing to travel to the fight."
"He told me before he left that he was going to join the jihad brigades in Syria, describing it as a holy cause," said al Bander, adding that "[Elskeikh] said he was joining two other UK-based mujahideen, one of Somali origin and the other from Morocco."
Al-Bader continued that Elsheikh told him that they were not trained in using firearms "but had been preparing for the trip since last year by doing very advanced physical exercises."
"When I asked him about the numbers of his associates that were planning to go to Syria, he said that as far he knew there were 21 individuals ready to leave the UK very soon," said al-Bader.
Elsheikh's mother, Maha Elgizouli, told the Sunday Telegraph, who could not contact Elsheikh himself, that her son had left her a note saying he had "gone to fight for God", but refused to speak further.
The investigation showed that at least 30 young Britons who are not of Syrian origin have travelled to take part in the fighting in it, quoting Khalid Mahmood, Labour MP for Birmingam Perry Barr.
"There are a lot of sheikhs [religious leaders and scholars] in the West Midlands who are involving young people in this activity," Barr told the British newspaper.
Barr expressed extreme concern "because I see similar things to what happened at the original stages of the Afghanistan war where we were supporting the mujahideen against the Russians. We wanted to get the Russians out and we armed people, we encouraged people to go out there and fight in the jihad."
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