Aqsa Mahmood ‘did not recruit schoolgirls to IS’

Aqsa Mahmood, left, did not have a hand in recruiting three schoolgirls to Islamic State, according to her family. Picture: PA
Aqsa Mahmood, left, did not have a hand in recruiting three schoolgirls to Islamic State, according to her family. Picture: PA
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THE family of a British woman who travelled to Syria to marry an Islamic State fighter say they do not believe she had a hand in recruiting three schoolgirls to the militant group.

Police are still trying to trace Shamima Begum, 15, Kadiza Sultana, 16, and 15-year-old Amira Abase after they travelled from east London to Turkey last month.

At least one of the girls was reportedly in contact on Twitter with Aqsa Mahmood, 20, who left her Glasgow home in November 2013.

They are now feared to have reached the conflict zone to become so-called “jihadi brides” with Islamic State.

Ms Mahmood’s father Muzaffar said he has been in contact with his daughter who denies involvement in their recruitment.

He told ITV News: “She was very angry with me that ‘why are you not standing up for me? I wasn’t in contact. I don’t even know their names’. That’s what she told us.

“We regret what she is doing and we condemn what’s going on over there but she hasn’t been in touch with them (the missing girls) at all. It’s very painful.”

University student Ms Mahmood is reported to have encouraged terrorist acts via a Twitter account under the name Umm Layth.

She travelled through Turkey to Aleppo in Syria in November 2013 and was reported missing to police.

In the interview, Mr Mahmood criticised intelligence services for failing to discover who is “radicalising our children”.

The families of the three girls, pupils at Bethnal Green Academy, said in a statement yesterday that the school, Met Police and the local authority had failed to pass on vital information to them and to each other.

About 600 Britons are believed to have travelled to Syria and Iraq since the conflict began, according to Scotland Yard.

The interview will be shown on ITV News at 10pm tonight.


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