UK: Search for Church Minister's Son Uncovers ISIS Ring
Thu, February 25, 2016
Ayman Shaukuk, convicted for his role in organizing travel to Syria for Islamic State recruits. (Photo: West Midlands Police)
A desperate phone call from a Church of England minister whose son had converted to Islam and run away to Syria resulted in British police uncovering the largest ring of Islamic State supporters to date, The Telegraph reported.
Jacob Petty emailed his mother in the summer of 2014 to tell her he had run away and was starting a new life in the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL). He was later killed.
“The case here emerged from worried parents about their son who they reported missing. That was Jacob Petty,” West Midlands assistant chief constable Marcus Beale told the media.
"It turns out he had gone to Syria and joined ISIS and from the inquiries we followed, it became a wider investigation and we were able to then open up these evidential routes into all of these people. The crucial thing about these people was that some were trying to travel and others were actually facilitating, organizing that travel,” Beale said.
The group of at least nine friends, including the Reverend Sue Boyce’s son, was from Walsall and was attempting to travel to Syria and join the Islamic State.
It included three pregnant women and another mother who wished to take her children to Syria. Four of the group are now standing trial in the UK.
Ayman Shaukat was convicted of being the primary organizer of the group and preparing terrorism in doing so. He took other members of the group, known as Islam Walsall, to the airport.
Trainee maths teacher and mother-of-three Lorna Moore was also convicted for failing to inform authorities of her husband’s plans to join ISIS in Syria. Alex Nash and his pregnant wife Yousma Jan were sent back to the UK by Turkish authorities.
There have been other cases of non-Muslims from comfortable backgrounds converting to Islam and joining radical groups. A new documentary film called “Dugma, the button” features Lucas Kinney, whose father is a Hollywood film director who worked with Steven Spielberg.
Raised Catholic, 26-year-old Kinney converted to Islam and is now in Jabhat al-Nusra awaiting his turn to become a suicide bomber and using the name Abu Basir al-Britani.
The Daily Mail reported that he seemed doubtful about his decision to blow himself up when speaking about how his wife is pregnant.
Others are radicalized even younger. Recently Kurdish forces rescued a 16-year-old Swedish girl who had been groomed by her boyfriend and taken to Islamic State territory.
"First we (were) good together, but then he started to look at ISIS videos and started to speak about them and stuff like that," she told Kurdistan24 television station.
"And I don't know anything about Islam or ISIS or something, so I didn't know what he meant. Then he said he want(ed) to go to ISIS, and I said OK, no problem."
She is now reportedly in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan.
Watch the full interview with her.
Some 40% of suspected Islamic State recruits arrested in the United States were converts, according to the George Washington University Program on Extremism.
These cases further demonstrate that there is no clear line from increased religiosity to Islamist and violent ideas, and that radicalization happens due to a range of factors, to which young, vulnerable and unstable individuals are that much more susceptible.
Elliot Friedland is a research fellow at Clarion Project.