Britain’s latest ISIS terror recruit is a resident of Britain’s most racially-segregated town and the brother of this country’s youngest convicted terrorist.
Labour’s junior justice minister Shahid Malik dismissed any link, saying, “Lightning stuck twice.”
Hassan Munshi, 17, from the Islamic enclave of Savile Town in Dewsbury is probably already in Syria. He is the grandson of prominent local Islamic scholar Yakub Munshi, who was reportedly the driving force behind the creation of Dewsbury’s first sharia court.
The boy and a jihadi neighbor and childhood friend told their parents they were going on a school trip over the Easter break, but are thought to have taken a flight to a Turkish resort near the border with Syria.
In a joint statement the two families said: “These were just two ordinary Yorkshire lads who enjoyed the things that all young people enjoy at their age.” They added, “naturally, we are in a state of profound shock and are trying to come to terms with the predicament we find ourselves in.”
In 2008 Hassan’s older brother, Hammad Munshi, was just 15 when he joined a terror cell believed to have been plotting against the royal family. He was found to have downloaded instructions for bomb making and was stashing notes about martyrdom fantasies under his bed. He returned to the family home four years ago and is said to be “reformed.”
Six years ago, at the time of the older brother’s arrest, local MP Shahid Malik said; “It is a real wake-up call for parents because there is a real need to be vigilant, especially when their kids are on the Internet… It is a real wake-up call to how older jihadists can prey on vulnerable young people.”
A Deobandi school of Islam that was founded in colonial India, specifically to oppose western culture, dominates the town. Mohammad Sidique Khan, the leader of the group responsible for the 7 July 2005 bombings in London, grew up in the area.
Savile is host to one of the largest mosques in the country where Hassan’s grandfather is reportedly a senior figure. It is the European headquarters of Tablighi Jamaat, a Debandi revivalist movement whose mandate is, according to leading advocate Ebrahim Rangooni, to save the Muslim world “from the culture and civilisation of the Jews and the Christians…” To this end, he suggested cultivating, “such hatred for their ways as human beings have to urine and excrement.”
David Cameron has said he is concerned that the Turkish Airline let the boys on the flight and called for “new proportionate arrangements,” such as temporary passport seizure powers, to ensure wannabe jihadists can’t leave.