UK mother says feels ‘betrayed’ by police after jihadist son jailed

An undated handout combination of pictures received from West Midlands Police on December 5, 2014 shows the custody photographs of Mohammed Nahin Ahmed (L) and Yusuf Zubair Sarwar (R). (Reuters)

A British mother who told police her radicalized son was fighting in Syria says she feels “betrayed” after he was given a 12-year sentence, The Observer reported Sunday.

“This is not justice. They said I was doing the right thing, that when my son came back they would try to help, but this terrible sentence – all they have done was to set me against my son,” Majida Sarwar, from Birmingham, told the paper.

Majida decided to cooperate with the police after she was promised that her son Yusuf, who had left for Syria in May 2013, would be brought back home.

She knew about Yusuf’s whereabouts since he left her a note saying he had gone to Syria to help “the oppressed and to fight the enemies of Allah there.”

Yusuf, a computer science student at Birmingham City University, initially faked a leaflet for his family saying the trip was part of his studies.

“The police say ‘mothers come forward’, you can trust us, we will help. But now they will see what happened to my son. What kind of person would go to the police if they think their son will get 12 years in prison? Nobody wants to do that. I did not want that.”

“My husband just sits silently most of the time, crying a lot,” she lamented.

Alongside Mohammed Ahmad, a former postal worker who was struggling to find work, Yusuf spent months planning the trip.

He purchased one-way tickets and paid off debts.

His mother showed the note to officers at West Midlands police and when Yusuf and Mohammed returned to Heathrow in January this year they were arrested and detained in Belmarsh high security prison.

Judge Michael Topolski QC said: “They [Yusuf and Mohammed] willingly, enthusiastically and with a great deal of purpose, persistence and determination embarked on a course intended to commit acts of terrorism.”

The judge said that the two believed in “violent Islamist extremism” and praised the “extraordinarily brave” mother who reported her son to the police.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:45 - GMT 06:45