London: Amid reports that three missing British Muslim schoolgirls may have crossed over to Syria to join Islamic State (IS) terrorists, parents in Britain are being asked to confiscate the passports of their children if they feel they were at a similar risk. The head of Inspire, a human rights organisation working with Muslim women, called on schools to do more to burst the “romanticised notion” of IS that is being peddled to young people by a slick online propaganda machine.
Sara Khan said the tactics used by those luring young girls to Syria and Iraq to marry them off to jihadis or force them into domestic servitude were the grooming methods of paedophiles. “We need to stop using the phrase ‘jihadi brides’,” she told the Guardian.
“This is grooming, a child safety issue, and we need to make that distinction. These are normal teenage girls who should be in school, with their families, and have sacrificed everything to run off and join this crazed group. “They are getting all their info online where it’s so glorified and romantic. Like it’s all one big happy family out there. Well it isn’t. Parents need help and the most practical suggestion I can make is keep your daughter’s passport under lock and key,” she said.
Inspire launches a campaign on Monday called ‘Making a Stand’ to help parents cope with the IS threat. British Prime Minister David Cameron has expressed his “deep concern” regarding the three missing girls – Shamima Begum, 15, Kadiza Sultana, 16, and 15-year-old Amira Abase. Cameron also called for schools to take a role saying, “The fight against Islamic extremism is not just one that we can wage by the police and border control. It needs every school, every university, every college, every community to recognise that they have a role to play”.
Meanwhile, a Turkish intelligence source told the Telegraph, “They were seen in Tal Abyad on Friday. They were travelling with a Syrian male in a private car. They were using Syrian identity cards. “We understand that after arriving in Istanbul the girls met an IS member who is charged with helping foreigners who want to join the group,” he said.
Kadiza, Shamima and Amira, who all attended Bethnal Green Academy in east London, flew from Gatwick to Turkey after telling their parents they were going out for the day.