Tuesday, June 02, 2015

'When I pick you up, I am going to be picking you up as my wife'

  • Man identifies himself under a false name and gives instructions on fleeing
  • Abu Antar - real name Ahmed Canter - groomed girl for a week over Skype
  • But the girl he thought was 15 was actually undercover Canadian reporter
  • Investigation has revealed jihadi is actually accountant from West London 
A British jihadi who went to Syria to fight for terror group Islamic State (IS) has been caught on camera attempting to lure an underage girl to join him and become his bride.

In chilling messages, the man identifies himself only under a false name – Abu Antar – and gives step-by-step instructions for how the girl he believes to be just 15 years old can slip away from her family by pretending she is sleeping at a friend’s house and then embark on a dangerous journey to the Middle East region occupied by IS fighters.

Antar groomed the teenager for over a week through video conversations and messages over the internet. At one point he told her: ‘When I pick you up, I am going to be picking you up as my wife.’

But the veil-wearing girl he spoke to from the IS stronghold of Raqqa in Syria was actually an undercover reporter for a Canadian TV network, which then aired an exposé of Antar, without establishing his real identity.

Now an investigation by The Mail on Sunday has revealed that the jihadi comes from London and that his real name is Ahmed Canter.
Born in Somalia, Canter came to Britain when he was six months old and grew up in a West London suburb. Before he left Britain for Raqqa, he lived in a council flat with his mother, sister and three brothers, one of whom told this newspaper that Canter was an accountant.

Canter’s shocked family are now attempting to distance themselves from his actions and say they are willing to co-operate with police.

This newspaper has obtained all the video footage and exchanges between Canter and the undercover reporter, revealing how he instructed her to marry him in a ceremony over the internet, and boasted of having smuggled 20 other jihadis into Syria.

The reporter for Canada’s Global News network – who does not want to be identified – set up a fake Twitter account posing as a 15-year-old to see how much attention she would receive from jihadis in Syria. Within hours she was inundated with messages. Canter was one of the first to contact her.

They agreed to communicate one-to-one on the encrypted messaging service Kik, on which Canter asked her to marry him. The conversation then moved to long video calls on Skype.

Canter instructed the teenager what flights to catch from her home in Edmonton, the capital of Alberta province. He said: ‘Can you hear me, yeah? Here’s what you do. You say you gonna have a weekend sleepover, where you basically start from Friday evening…then you get on a flight to Calgary. When you get to the flight on Calgary, you fly to Germany, to Frankfurt, then you go to Istanbul. The flight you look for is the shortest flying time.

‘The moment you land in Turkey, I’ll have everything ready. But, ah, my biggest concern is you getting out to Istanbul without your parents going crazy, you know.’

He told the would-be bride to bring only Western clothes to avoid suspicion. He also told her to have a cover story of being a tourist. ‘You need to travel completely Western, and don’t buy any abayas [Islamic long dress] and all this kind of thing in the bag.’

Canter revealed to the girl that his men would be waiting for her at Istanbul to drive her to the border, and then into Syria to meet him.

When the reporter asked what she should bring with her, he replied: ‘Can you bring some cash with you. It’s good to have extra cash to fall back on in case, you know, anything goes wrong. If you’re up for it, I’ll buy a handgun for your protection. The women here carry handguns, they carry the [suicide] belt. You always have enemies.’

He pressured the reporter to perform the Islamic wedding ceremony called nikah over Skype, fearing that otherwise she would be married to another jihadi by an Islamist judge when she entered IS territory.
The reporter then broke off contact with Canter. A documentary featuring the exchanges, The Wives Of ISIS, was broadcast in March.

Social media messages show that Canter has since lured another Muslim girl to Syria, possibly from Tunisia, and married her.

When The Mail on Sunday contacted Canter and his new wife on Twitter, they changed their account names and blocked the reporter.

Canter was then contacted on his Kik account and asked why he tried to lure a 15-year-old to Syria. 

A furious Canter replied: ‘Die in your rage, ya kafir [infidel]. I would love to put the knife on your throat. Tracking you down son. It’s a matter of time [before] I get to you.’

Canter’s elder brother in London initially admitted Ahmed went to Syria with 28 other British friends last year but denied he was Abu Antar. However, three friends of Canter who were at secondary school with him, and two neighbours, all identified the jihadi in the video.

 One said: ‘I even remember last year he changed his Facebook page from Ahmed Canter to Abu Antar.’

Last night, Canter’s family said: ‘We are hard-working, law-abiding citizens. We distance ourselves from the actions of Ahmed Canter and IS and their activities. 

The Canter family do not in any way support the political or ideological aims or objectives of IS.

‘We are not aware of his [Canter’s] current whereabouts or whether he is in Syria or not. 

In addition we have not viewed any documentary on IS and cannot confirm that the person named Abu Antar is in fact Ahmed Canter.’

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