UK-born private school girl joins Syria militants
A Scottish-born private schoolgirl who travelled to Syria has joined Islamist militants there and urged Muslims in Britain to bring the “battlefield” home, the British Daily Mail newspaper reported Monday.
The case of Glasgow-born Aqsa Mahmood, 20, surfaced as Prime Minister David Cameron announced plans to give police more powers to curb the rising phenomena of Britons joining militants in the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
The British daily said Police Scotland and security services confirmed they were aware of the case of Mahmood, who in 2013 abandoned a university course to join militants fighting in Syria.
Since leaving to Syria, Mahmood has got married and been tweeting on a variety of subjects including descriptions of her routine life of cooking, cleaning and looking after children.
Her tweets also contain radical messages, including a call for others to copy the September 2014 murder of British soldier Lee Rigby, the April 2013 Boston Marathon bombing in the United States and the deadly April 2014 shooting at the Fort Hood U.S. Army base in Texas.
“Follow the example of your Brothers from Woolwich, Texas and Boston etc. Have no fear as Allah swt is always with the Believers,” Mahmood, who tweets under the name Umm Layth, says in one tweet.
“Jihad is not limited to Shaam [Syria], Khurasan, East Africa, Yemen etc. It is a worldwide battle against Kufr [infidels],” Mahmood, whose profile carries a picture of the black flag of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), says in another tweet dated June 27.
“If you cannot make it to the battlefield, then bring the battlefield to yourself,” Mahmood says in another tweet on that date.
About 500 British citizens are believed to have gone to Syria to join militant groups such as ISIS and the recent execution of U.S. journalist James Foley at the hands of suspected to be a Britain-born ISIS militant has increased pressure on London to do more to protect the country.
The Daily Mail said Mahmood’s family and friends were stunned about her involvement in radical Islam.
Her father moved from Pakistan to Scotland where he built up thriving businesses, the paper said.
Mahmood studied at the exclusive Craigholme School where friends remembered her as a Westernized girl who loved make-up and clothes and liked to gossip with fellow pupils, the daily said.
Her most recent tweet dated Aug. 26 reads: “Read up on how many people reverted to Islam after 9/11. You can plot and plan but you will never extinguish the Light of Islam.”