Bradford sisters who left UK 'to join Isis' were radicalised by British police, relatives say

In a letter to the chairman of the home affairs select committee, husbands of two of the women say police allegedly encouraged them to contact their radicalised brother

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The Independent Online

British police are partly responsible for the radicalisation of three sisters thought to have taken their children to join extremists in Syria, it has been claimed.

Mohammed Shoaib and Akhtar Iqbal, whose wives both left their homes in Bradford to travel to Syria, suggested that police encouraged their radicalisation by urging the women to contact their brother who had already left for Syria. It is believed he is fighting for with the Isis terror group.

In a letter to Keith Vaz, chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, and the Home and Foreign Secretaries, lawyers for the two husbands said that “plainly the North East Counter-Terrorism Unit (Nectu) has been complicit in the grooming and radicalising of the women,” the Mail on Sunday reported.

The letter claims that “the actions and misjudgement of Nectu have placed the lives of 12 British citizens at risk”. The accusations have been rejected by both MPs and Downing Street.

It comes in the aftermath of David Cameron's comments that some Muslim communities “quietly condone” extremism by not confronting it.

A No 10 spokesman said: “As the prime minister said in his speech on Friday, it is wrong and dangerous to play the blame-game, and to argue that radicalisation is the fault of someone else.

“Pointing the finger at the authorities or agencies ignores the real causes of radicalisation and how we can work together to tackle it.”

“That three women could disappear from the UK to take nine children into the heart of a war zone is incomprehensible,” Keith Vaz told the Mail on Sunday.

“The claims of their relatives in the UK that their links with Isis were ‘encouraged’ by the authorities is concerning.”

In response to the claims, West Yorkshire Assistant Chief Constable Russ Foster, of Nectu, said: “We have not seen the letter so cannot comment in detail on its contents. However, we completely reject accusations that the police were complicit in the alleged grooming of the missing family or that we were oppressive to them.

“While we do not comment on all aspects of police work for valid operational and safeguarding reasons, this is an ongoing investigation and we are continuing to do everything we can to find the missing family and to ensure the safety of the children.

“Their relatives have been kept informed throughout this investigation and we are pleased they expressed their satisfaction with the support they have received so far. This will continue.”