Aqsa Mahmood: Parents of 'bedroom radical' fighting in Syria plead for return of daughter

Aqsa Mahmood is described as ‘sweet, peaceful, intelligent girl’ who has ‘betrayed’ family through her radicalisation

The parents of Aqsa Mahmood, the 20-year-old woman from Glasgow who fled her home to join jihadist fighters in Syria, have pleaded for her to come home.

In an emotional address, in which the family’s solicitor delivered a statement on behalf of parents Muzaffar and Khalida Mahmood who appeared upset to speak themselves, their daughter was told that her parents still love her, but that she had betrayed their family with her actions.

Mahmood’s parents said: “We still love you, Aqsa, but we now have to put your family, your brother and sisters first as you have betrayed us, our community and the people of Scotland when you took this step.

“You have torn the heart out of our family and changed our lives forever. Please come home.”

 

Aqsa Mahmood was discovered to have entered Syria through Turkey, and has since married an Isis fighter Mahmood was described as a “sweet, peaceful, intelligent girl,” who was privately educated and had spoken of plans to become a pharmacist after leaving university, but she disappeared in November 2013 after becoming increasingly radicalised as the crisis in the Middle East intensified.

After becoming increasingly vocal in her support for terrorist acts in posts on Twitter, under the account name Umm Layth, Mahmood left her home, which her family then reported to police.

Her messages on Twitter had encouraged British Muslims to join Isis, calling for terrorist attacks on the UK and advising people to follow the example of "brothers from Woolwich, Texas and Boston". Her account has since been deleted.

Through social media it was discovered that Mahmood had travelled to Aleppo in Syria via the Turkish border, and in February it was learned that she had married an Isis fighter.

“Our daughter is brainwashed and deluded and helping those engaged in genocide,” her parents said.

“She may believe that the jihadists of Isis are her new family but they are not and are simply using her.

“If our daughter, who had all the chances and freedom in life, could become a bedroom radical, then it is possible for this to happen to any family,” they warned.

 

Mahmood’s parents said they gave her “everything possible” in terms of love, freedom and education, but “she chose the path which we could never approve of”.

They claimed that there is no smoking gun, no family member or fundamentalist preacher that can be blamed for their daughter’s radicalisation, instead stating that, like “many young people in our community”, she was “naturally angry and frustrated at the loss of innocent life in the Middle East,” but added that “this is not the way to help”.

Outlining concerns that there is a “growing climate of fear in this country”, Mahmood’s parents said they are worried that children will not discuss how they feel with their family and friends, which will “only spell disaster” for society.

“We know that in the days and months ahead we will be scouring social media for clues of whether our daughter is still alive. As we try to hold back the tears today, we feel we have lost our child,” they said.

Muzaffar and Khalida Mahmood had reportedly been keeping in touch with their daughter through social media, but this contact is understood to have been broken since their appeal. Their solicitor said the Mahmoods are hoping their plea will make their daughter “think again” and come home.

News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete tomorrow
News
Kim Jong Un gives field guidance during his inspection of the Korean People's Army (KPA) Naval Unit 167
newsSouth Korean reports suggest rumours of a coup were unfounded
Arts and Entertainment
You could be in the Glastonbury crowd next summer if you follow our tips for bagging tickets this week
music
Life and Style
It is believed that historically rising rates of alcohol consumption have contributed to the increase
food + drink
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
people
News
Piers Morgan tells Scots they might not have to suffer living on the same island as him if they vote ‘No’ to Scottish Independence
peopleBroadcaster has a new role bringing 'the big stories that matter' to US
Arts and Entertainment
Kylie performs during her Kiss Me Once tour
musicReview: 26 years on from her first single, the pop princess tries just a bit too hard at London's O2
Life and Style
Moves to regulate e-cigarettes and similar products as medicines come amid increasing evidence of their effectiveness
healthHuge anti-smoking campaign kicks off on Wednesday
Life and Style
fashionEveryone, apparently
Voices
The erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey has already been blamed for a rise in the number of callouts to the fire brigade for people trapped in handcuffs
voicesJustine Elyot: Since Fifty Shades there's no need to be secretive about it — everyone's at it
Arts and Entertainment
A new Banksy entitled 'Art Buff' has appeared in Folkestone, Kent
art
Arts and Entertainment
Shia LaBeouf is one of Brad Pitt's favourite actors in the world ever, apparently
filmsAn 'eccentric' choice, certainly
Life and Style
An Internet security expert has warned that voice recognition technology needs to be more secure
techExperts warn hackers could control our homes or spend our money simply by speaking
Extras
indybest
News
peopleBenjamin Netanyahu trolled by group promoting two-state solution
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior Marketing Manager - Central London - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (Campaigns, Offlin...

Head of Marketing - Acquisition & Direct Reponse Marketing

£90000 - £135000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Marketing (B2C, Acquisition...

1st Line Service Desk Analyst

£27000 - £30000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client who are...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Huxley Associates

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Huxley Associates are currentl...

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style