The third British jihadist in a terrorist video widely circulated online attended school in Aberdeen, according to reports last night.
The man is believed to have been born in Bangladesh but moved to Scotland with his family as a young boy where he attended primary and secondary school.
According to reports, he left the north-east several years ago and is one of three British men who appear in a 13-minute video, There is No Life Without Jihad, that was posted online on Friday by accounts linked to Isis, the Islamic militant group currently sweeping across Iraq.
The video has been widely circulated and sparked fears over terror attacks in Britain. Last night, one member of the Muslim community in Aberdeen who knew the man in the video told The Scotsman he was “shocked” to recognise him. He also spoke of his surprise that a teenager with mainstream Muslim views would apparently go on to be “radicalised”.
Two of the six fighters shown in the film, which urges Muslims to join a holy war, have already been identified as Nasser Muthana and Reyaad Khan from Cardiff.
The footage was posted online in the wake of the military progress made by Isis in Iraq over the past few weeks.
The third man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is understood to be around 25 years old and to have been born in Bangladesh. He was later raised in Aberdeen where he is said to have attended Saint Machar Academy.
Two years ago, he was involved in fundraising in Aberdeen to send medical aid to Gaza but shortly afterwards left the city and may have moved to Leicester.
A member of the Muslim community, who did not wish to be named, last night told The Scotsman: “The community in Aberdeen is very cosmopolitan and integrated. If you go to the mosque, you will find students from the university and people who work for BP and Shell. You will not find al-Qaeda.
“This is terrible news but we must make it clear that he would not have been radicalised up here. I don’t know where it happened, but you don’t find this type of material in mosques in Aberdeen.”
He said that he remembered the man as being very boisterous and full of energy – “He was one of the naughty boys but not dangerous” – and also culturally well integrated.
“That is what is surprising. He didn’t strike me as someone who would become involved in this. Looking closely at the footage, you can see he has changed. He is a bit more muscular. I don’t know how this happened but what we don’t want to occur is for Muslims in Aberdeen to be made a scapegoat.”
In the video, he addresses his fellow Muslims back in Britain: “Are you willing to sacrifice the fat job you’ve got, the big car you’ve got, the family you have?
“Are you willing to sacrifice this for the sake of Allah? Definitely! If you sacrifice something for Allah, Allah will give you 700 times more than this.”
Later in the video, he said: “All my brothers living in the west, I know how you feel. When I used to live there, in the heart you feel depressed. The cure for the depression is jihad.”
Last night, a former acquaintance said he was shocked to see the man now holding a gun, sitting beside other jihadists and urging others to join their fight.
The man, who did not wish to be named, said that the man in the video had been in minor trouble as a teenager, but that he then calmed down as he grew older and became increasingly religious. He added that other former acquaintances could not believe the change that had taken place in him.
He told the BBC: “I was shocked. It seemed utterly mad. He came here when he was a younger child. He went to primary and secondary school here.
“After that he was around in Aberdeen. He was a bit arrogant, a bit ‘aggro’, maybe something to prove. He ended up in a lot of fights.
“To learn he’s accepted religion in such an extreme way is a bit shocking. Shocking because he’s a youth from Aberdeen who’s ended up somewhere like that.”
The man said that, when he was younger, the jihadist had enjoyed drinking alcohol and going to nightclubs. He said he had not seen the man for the past couple of years and believed that his family had moved to Leicester.
Yesterday, a Muslim leader spoke of his fears that widespread publicity given to the Isis video will encourage other “susceptible” young men to travel to Syria to fight.
Sheikh Zane Abdo, imam of the South Wales Islamic Centre, said: “I guarantee that many young people who are very susceptible to this type of message will have watched that video and maybe have been encouraged to now go and follow in the footsteps of Nasser and his brother, which is a real problem. A platform has been given to this video that really shouldn’t have been given.”
His fears were echoed by Sir Peter Fahy, Greater Manchester Chief Constable and lead on the counter-terrorism strategy for the Association of Chief Police Officers. He warned that the video made the young men’s trip look like a “Boy Scout camp” when the reality was “very brutal, very callous”.
“The government does have some funding and is putting material on the internet but we need the whole of the community to counter this narrative,” he told ITV’s Good Morning Britain.
“The trouble with this Isis video is it makes it look like a Boy Scout camp going out there, when in fact what they are calling for is Muslims to go out to kill fellow Muslims, often in cold blood, with summary executions of conscript soldiers and police officers.
“It is a very, very brutal thing they are calling on fellow Muslims to go and do.
“We need to get this message across. The trouble with that particular video is it makes it look very glamorous, that they are going on an adventure, when the reality is actually very brutal, very callous.”