Muslim parents fear British police anti-terror plan

Published: Updated:

British counter-terrorism police are appealing to Muslim women to stop their sons, brothers and husbands from fighting in Syria.

The move came as Scotland Yard revealed that 40 Syria-related arrests were made this year so far compared to 25 in total last year.

This is a huge shift in the police’s tone how to deal with extremism and would-be jihadists within British Muslim communities.

On the launch of the campaign, Helen Ball, senior national coordinator for counterterrorism said: “We are increasingly concerned about the numbers of young people who have or are intending to travel to Syria to join the conflict.”

“We want to ensure that people, particularly women, who are concerned about their loved ones are given enough information about what they can do to prevent this from happening,” she added.
Around 20 British fighters are said to have been killed in the Syrian civil war.

Possible spying

The latest reported death of a Briton from Syria is 18-year old Abdullah Deghayes, who died earlier this month.

His father, Abu Bakr, knew of his death through Facebook. Two of his other sons – Amer, 20, and Jaafar, 16, who is thought to be the youngest British rebel - are still in Syria. Their parents did not give them consent to go to Syria and were unable to convince them to come back.

However, this new police strategy is seen by Abu Bakr and some other Muslims as a way of spying on their children.

The prolonged Syria conflict has increasingly worried security chiefs who think hundreds of people have gone from UK to fight in Syria. Police have previously warned that anyone travelling to Syria should expect to be scrutinised while the UK government has condemned the Assad regime, which is accused of atrocities.

_ Report by Al Arabiya's Mostapha Zarou