The mother of a 24-year-old Muslim convert from Buckinghamshire, UK fears that her son will kill innocent people after he travelled to Somalia to join the terrorist group Al Shabaab. Sally Evans says she would rather see him sent to prison than risk killing himself and others.
Five years ago her son Thomas converted to Islam and changed his name to Abdul Hakim. Over the years his views became increasingly radical after he joined a small prayer group. He even asked his mother and younger brother to convert to Islam or face “burning in hell”, according to the Daily Mail.
Mrs Evans has confirmed that she is now supplying police with information about her son as she fears she would be unable to live with herself if anyone got hurt by his “warped ideology”. The 56 year old said: “I did tell police what happened because I have nothing to hide… I would rather have Thomas alive behind bars than dead in the middle of nowhere because he wouldn’t just die innocently but die doing something that he shouldn’t be doing.
“And if he took other lives, how do you live with this? If he was a suicide bomber, how would I live with that?”
Thomas Evans is one of around 50 British people thought to have travelled to Somalia to further terrorise the war torn African country, and attack its neighbour Kenya. Hundreds more may have travelled to Syria, prompting British Police to ask women to report male relatives they suspect of involvement in terrorism.
Mrs Evans says that her son dropped out of school aged 16, and had been a normal young man until he became depressed at the break up with his long term girlfriend. He began “troublemaking” and eventually converted to Islam. He changed his name, shaved his head and grew a beard.
In that period he had few friends, one of whom was Donald Stewart-Whyte, another Muslim convert who was cleared of involvement in a plot to use liquid bombs to blow up planes in 2006. In 2011 Evans tried to fly to Kenya but was turned back by anti-terror police at Heathrow Airport.
A few months later he flew to Egypt, claiming he wanted to learn to speak Arabic, but Police later informed his mother than he had attempted to enter Kenya. In January 2012 he phoned his mother to say that she would not see him again because he planned to die for his beliefs. She asked him whether he planned to become a suicide bomber and he said he would if asked.
Mrs Evans added: “I am heartbroken at his decision to leave me and his brother to follow a warped ideology but I still love him. I wish they had a magic wand to bring him back.”
The story of Thomas Evans is becoming depressingly familiar in Britain as extremist clerics were left for years to radicalise young people. Most of them are from a Muslim background, but others are converts to Islam. Police are now keen to track down and prosecute British Jihadis who travelled abroad as many of them come back as well trained extremists capable of fighting a war on British soil.