Iraq crisis: Isis video calls on British Muslims to join in jihad as ‘cure for depression’
Cahal Milmo is the chief reporter of The Independent and has been with the paper since 2000. He was born in London and previously worked at the Press Association news agency. He has reported on assignment at home and abroad, including Rwanda, Sudan and Burkina Faso, the phone hacking scandal and the London Olympics. In his spare time he is a keen runner and cyclist, and keeps an allotment.
Friday 20 June 2014
Militants behind the jihadist advance in Iraq launched a fresh attempt to attract foreign recruits yesterday with a video featuring apparently British fighters urging their compatriots to join them.
The film posted by Isis showed five men claiming to be British and Australian jihadists calling for Western Muslims to head for Syria and Iraq.
In a sign of the growing sophistication of its propaganda operation, Isis said it was aiming to get one billion Muslims to post messages of support for a hardline Islamist state on social media as part of an effort to advance its cause. The video followed a warning this week from Prime Minister David Cameron that Isis was planning attacks in Britain.
The 13-minute video, entitled “There is no life without jihad”, showed a group of foreign Isis recruits – including three claimed Britons – explaining their motivation for travelling to Iraq and Syria and seeking to persuade British Muslims to give up “the fat job … the big car”.
Set to a soundtrack of Koranic singing, the film eschews gory images of atrocities and presents instead a call to leave behind the West and join a “pure” Islamic state built on sharia. One apparently British fighter named as “Abu Muthanna al-Yemeni – from Britain”, named Bangladesh, Cambodia, Australia and the UK as sources for Isis recruits. He said: “We will go to Iraq in a few days, and we will fight there.”
Another alleged Briton, named as “Abu Bara al-Hindi”, made it clear the group had in its sights disillusioned or vulnerable Muslims who could be persuaded to swap the trappings of Western life for a religious war. The man said: “Are you willing to sacrifice the fat job you’ve got? The big car you’ve got?” He added: “The cure for depression is jihad… Feel the honour we are feeling, feel the happiness we are feeling.”
The Home Office said it wanted to restrict access to such videos, adding: “We do not tolerate the existence of online terrorist and extremist propaganda, which directly influences people who are vulnerable to radicalisation.
Ahmed Muthana, the father of Nasser Muthana, told ITV News that watching footage of his son had made him cry.
"I wish I could hold him, hold his hand, ask him to come back," he said.
"As a father I give a message, not only to Nasser, to all the people that go from Britain to Syria to fight please stop. Come back home."
Mr Muthana told the Daily Telegraph that his son had been accepted at four universities to study medicine but did not go, and he had not heard from him since November.
In February, the younger brother also disappeared after it is thought he applied for a second passport.
"To be honest, I don't agree with him but I don't know what he has been taught in his mind," he said.
"Of course I fear he will be injured or die fighting but I can do nothing. They are conservative Muslim, they don't have girlfriends, they don't talk to girls."
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