Isis schoolgirls: Aqsa Mahmood's parents say she denies recruiting teenagers to Syria

The family solicitor said that Aqsa was being held up as a 'sacrificial lamb'

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The Independent Online

The parents of Aqsa Mahmood have said their daughter denies recruiting three schoolgirls to join Isis in Syria.

Speaking to BBC News, Khalida and Muzaffar Mahmood said they were in touch with her last week.

Although they condemned her for joining Isis to become a "jihadi bride", they said she told them she did not recruit the three girls from Bethnal Green, east London.

Shamima Begum, 15, Kadiza Sultana, 16, and Amira Abase, 15, went missing after they boarded a flight from Gatwick to Istanbul last month.

The schoolgirls are thought to have crossed the border into Syria not far from the Turkish town of Kilis, according to Sky News sources.

"We are told by... good sources within the city of al Raqqa that they are there, that they are safe," Sky News reported.

Aqsa Mahmood was known for tweeting about life as a militant’s wife in Syria before her account was suspended.

The 20-year-old student from Glasgow has been called a "bedroom radical" by the media after spending her time interacting on radical Muslim chat forums before fleeing.


The family previously branded her a "disgrace" after it emerged she may have enticed the three UK girls to join her.

However, Mr Mahmood said in the BBC interview that his daughter's Twitter account had been suspended in November.

He added: "She wasn't in contact with these girls and now the media are saying that she was in contact with them, that she was the one who recruited.

"We feel it wasn't her. It's other people doing it. It wasn't her at all. She was very angry with me.


Aqsa’s mother, Khalida, expressed her disbelief at what has been reported about her daughter. "She's just a housewife... She is not a Jihadi wife," she said.

The family’s solicitor Aamer Anwar has questioned why the authorities failed to contact their Turkish counterparts while Aqsa was still known to be in the country, before she crossed over to Syria, and said that Ms Mahmood was being held up as a "sacrificial lamb".

"If Aqsa Mahmood is the Isis poster girl responsible for recruitment and radicalisation, I am astonished that the British authorities have not contacted the Turkish authorities to say that there are other girls that may be in danger," he said.

In a recent interview, London mayor Boris Johnson said that the parents were responsible for the girls' radicalisation.

"If your kids are going online and reading a load of nonsense about how you can have a load of fun being radicalised and going out to Syria then you need to sort that out as a parent I think," he said.

Prime minister David Cameron told MPs he was "horrified" over by the case of the disappearance of the three girls and said that airports, airlines and border security staff needed to do more to prevent radicalised British teenagers travelling to join Isis.