British suicide bomber 'a hero, not a terrorist', says brother


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The Independent Online

A British suicide bomber who blew himself in Syria is a “hero” worthy of the Victoria Cross, not a terrorist who posed a danger to the UK, his brother has said.

Abdul Waheed Majeed, 41, from Crawley, died on 6 February when he drove a heavily armoured lorry through gunfire to the gate of Aleppo prison during an attack said to have freed up to 300 inmates.

His brother Hafeez Majeed insisted the dead man, a father-of-three, had not been anti-British, and had died bravely trying to free opponents of President Bashar al-Assad who have faced torture in prison.

“If my brother had been a British soldier and there were British people in that prison and the act of heroism or bravery that he did, I know he would have been awarded the posthumous Victoria Cross,” he told the BBC's Newsnight.

“My brother was not a terrorist. My brother was a hero. My brother paid the full price with his life for what he did.

"He was not a threat to the British public and never has been a threat to the British public."

Mr Majeed admitted his brother had associated with the now banned Islamist group al-Muhajiroun while in Britain.

But he added: "The views that they espoused did not marry with what his beliefs were. He stayed with them for a short time and then he moved on."

UK police have arrested more than 30 people so far this year as part of efforts to stop British citizens from going to fight in Syria.

Abdul Waheed Majeed went to the region in July last year as an aid convoy driver. He also spent time working in refugee camps to improve sanitation.

His family tried to persuade him to leave the country, arguing that he had done his religious duty to help victims of the conflict.

After his suicide attack, video of him speaking calmly, saying goodbye and then driving off in the truck amid gunfire towards the prison. The truck went out of sight and then a massive blast was heard and a large dustcloud rose into the sky.