A mother who is believed to have taken her four children with her to war torn Syria has been linked to notorious British hate preacher Anjem Choudary.
Zahera Tariq was reported missing from her home in Walthamstow, London with her three sons, aged four to 12, and her nine-year-old daughter last week. Police believe she may be trying to join her sister Aisha who is already in Syria.
Now the Telegraph reports that Mrs Tariq’s brother-in-law is Siddhartha Dhar, a former aide to notorious preacher Anjem Choudary who was among nine men arrested last year on suspicion of terror offences.
He skipped bail and fled to join Islamic State fighters in Syria, taking to Twitter to taunt Britain’s security forces and claiming he was able to “breeze through” Europe.
In May he posted a guide for would-be jihadists praising his now home in Syria: “If you thought London or New York was cosmopolitan then wait until you step foot in the Islamic State,” it reads. He also writes about the “succulent” food and “creamy” lattes, predicting “curries and chow meins” on the streets of occupied Iraqi and Syrian cities in the “near future”.
Mrs Tariq and her children were caught on CCTV at London City Airport last week where they are believed to have caught a flight to Amsterdam. Although police say they do not yet have any convincing evidence they have travelled on to Syria, this remains their most likely destination.
Neighbours Linda and Doug Barrett told the Telegraph the children would play football in the street almost every day. “Honestly, they are just typical kids, running in and out of the house with water and ice creams. You wouldn’t have expected anything like this,” they said.
Commander Richard Walton of Scotland Yard’s Counter Terrorism Command said: “We’re concerned about Zahera and her four children and we’re doing all we can to work with our partners and colleagues both here and abroad to try and locate them and make sure they are all safe and well.”
Anjem Choudary was charged last month with inviting support for Islamic State, along with Mohammed Mizanur Rahman. Sue Hemming, head of Special Crime and Counter-Terrorism at the Crown Prosecution Service, said the men were charged in relation to lectures posted on social media:
“We have concluded that there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest to prosecute Anjem Choudary and Mohammed Rahman for inviting support for ISIL (IS), a proscribed terrorist organisation, between 29 June 2014 and 6 March this year.
“Each man is charged with one offence contrary to section 12 of the Terrorism Act 2000.”