Bolton science teacher arrested by counter-terrorism officers over Syria links

Jamshed Javeed is alleged to have been planning to travel to the country

A science teacher from a Bolton school who was highly regarded by his pupils has been arrested on suspicion of preparing for acts of terrorism in Syria.

Jamshed Javeed, who lives in Manchester and teaches at Sharples High School, was arrested by a regional counter-terrorism unit on 22 December, according to police.

Mr Javeed remains on bail until 5 March, pending further enquiries. The 29-year-old, who taught children aged between 11 and 16, has been suspended from his job while police investigate his intentions for travelling to the Middle East.

It is understood that Mr Javeed, who is from Levenshulme, had not travelled to Syria, but was alleged to have been preparing to do so.

As news spread of his arrest, students from Sharples High School took to social media to express surprise. One pupil wrote: “Mr Javeed is the nicest person, just because he wanted to go Syria and is on bail doesn’t mean he’s a terrorist”.

Parents were sent a letter from the school’s headmistress. It said: “Mr Javeed, who is one of our science teachers, was arrested and is on bail, but not charged, as part of an investigation into concerns around possible travelling to Syria for reasons as yet unknown. I want to reassure you that there is no suggestion that Mr Javeed’s alleged activities have involved anyone at the school or the school itself.”

The arrest comes amid concern over a growing number of Britons feared to have left the UK to join the predominantly Islamic factions fighting the Syrian regime.

Security officials estimate that as many as 300 young Britons have travelled to the region since the start of the civil war, fuelling concern in security circles about the threat they pose when they return home.

A Greater Manchester Police spokesman said: “The investigation focuses on concerns over an individual travelling to Syria for purposes that are as yet unknown, but are believed to potentially involve terrorism. There is nothing to suggest that any of the wider community in Manchester has been under threat.”

The school’s headteacher Rachel Quesnel told The Bolton News: “I have taken the decision, along with the chair of governors, to suspend the teacher in order that a full investigation can take place.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has disclosed that Britain has accepted around 1,500 asylum seekers from Syria in the past year. Some nine million Syrians are thought to have been displaced during the civil war which started in 2011. The United Nations has called on the international community to offer resettlement opportunities

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