Community leaders rally after Isis fighter from Wycombe tells BBC Newsnight of hatred for UK

Still taken from BBC Newsnight

Still taken from BBC Newsnight

First published in News
Last updated
Bucks Free Press: Photograph of the Author Exclusive by , Reporter

AN ISIS fighter who laughed about beheading enemies and spoke of his hatred for the UK in an interview with the BBC is from High Wycombe, the BFP can reveal.

Omar Hussain – who called himself Awlaki – said he would ‘only return to the UK to plant a bomb’ in an interview aired by Newsnight last week in the wake of the beheading of American journalist James Foley.

The former Cressex school pupil and supermarket security guard also defended the mass execution of Isis’ enemies in the documentary.

The town’s community figures have this week called for togetherness in a bid to prevent others from leaving the UK to join terrorist groups.

Mohammed Khaliel a community advocate said: “The whole issue is sensitive and worrying, particularly due to the distress caused to the innocent families when they discover their loved one have gone abroad.

“We must all work together to ensure these type of events do not occur and I will work tirelessly to ensure people engage in the peaceful democratic process rather than feel the only way is to take up arms.

“The community is listening to the concerns and conveying to members of parliament and the government. The police are also willing to offer relevant support to prevent.

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“We must take any action we can to stop others from taking up arms. I would appeal to anyone feeling disillusioned or deeply frustrated to come to us, we can represent your views to the highest levels.”

Zahid Jawed from the Wycombe Islamic Society said Hussain had approached WISE about carrying out charity work in Turkey about a year ago – but the society rejected his offer.

Sajid Ali, ex-chairman of the Wycombe Islamic Mission and Mosque Trust, said Hussain used to live in Castlefield.

He said: “We said ‘hi’ and ‘bye’ but that was about it. He went to the Castlefield Mosque until about seven years ago and came across as a religious person; we never felt he had that kind of extremist attitude.

“Everyone is shocked and deeply upset about his comments, especially as he’s a Wycombe boy. Everyone condemns his behaviour.”

The interview aired on August 20 was described as an examination of the mindset that would lead a British citizen to join the Islamic State.

Newsnight reporter Secunder Kermani said he had been in correspondence with the Isis recruit over several months.

The fanatic, who said he was a 27-year-old British Pakistani, called himself Awlaki – after Anwar al-Awlaki, the dead Al Qaeda preacher.

During the interview, Awlaki claimed to have travelled to Syria to fight the Assad regime and joined ISIS because it was “the only group fighting for the return of the caliphate”.

He laughed as he confirmed reports ISIS fighters beheaded ‘three or four guys’ and suggested he would only return to the UK to wage war.

Awlaki insisted atrocities committed against captured soldiers were ‘permissible’ under Islam ‘just as it is permissible for our brothers in the UK to execute British soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.’

Superintendent Ed McLean said he was contacted by the community after the controversial programme was aired.

Wycombe’s Area Commander said: “I have met with a number of community leaders to discuss the programme and its potential impact.

“Any individual who travels to Syria to engage in fighting will be subject of an investigation focusing on their activities.

“The public play an important role in protecting vulnerable people and in discouraging them from travelling to Syria.

“I would urge anyone in the Wycombe community with concerns about people planning to travel to Syria to come forward and speak to us or your community leaders.”

Wycombe MP Steve Baker said he was convinced the vast majority of people in Wycombe are good, law-abiding people.

But he added it is “deeply concerning a small minority of violent individuals have allowed themselves to be drawn in to this hatred.”

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