A British family of 12 who were feared to have joined in Isis in Syria have released a statement confirming that they have indeed fled to the self-proclaimed caliphate.
The Mannan family, from Luton, including a 75-year-old patriarch and a baby of one, said in the statement that “we are in the Islamic State” and “we feel safer than we have ever felt before”.
They had not been seen 17 May, having flown to their homeland of Bangladesh on 10 April and then to Istanbul in Turkey on 11 May – prompting Bedfordshire Police to launch an appeal to trace them.
Now the Mannans have declared that they have made it to Syria. A statement posted on the Isis website amounts to a broadside against the “so called freedom and democracy” of the “totalitarian” West, which they said is trying to brainwash Muslims.
The statement, released on the family’s behalf, says: “Yes, all 12 of us and why should this number be shocking, when there are thousands and thousands of Muslims from all corners of the world that are crossing over land and sea everyday to come to the Islamic State?
"Don't be shocked when we say that none of us were forced against our will. In fact it is outrageous to think that an entire family could be kidnapped and made to migrate like this.“
Relatives of the family back in Britain earlier released a statement through police, describing their disappearance as “completely out of character” and expressing concern for the welfare of 75-year-old Muhammed Abdul Mannan and his wife Minera Khatun, 53, who have health issues.
The other missing members of the family are the couple’s daughter, Rajia Khanom, 21, and sons Mohammed Zayd Hussain, 25, Mohammed Toufique Hussain, 19, Mohammed Abil Kashem Saker, 31, and his wife Sheida Khanam, 27, and Mohammed Saleh Hussain, 26, and his wife Roshanara Begum, 24, along with three children, aged between one and 11.
The Mannans have the distinction of including the oldest and youngest British people to have defected to the so-called Islamic State.
Rajia Khanom, 21, was stopped at the airport by police on the day before the family was eventually allowed to fly, it emerged this week.Reuse content