The father of a 15-year-old schoolgirl who left to join ISIS and become a jihadi bride with two friends has admitted he took her on multiple Islamist marches – one when she was just 13-years-old.
“The only reason we [he and his wife] took her first time, was because there was no one to look after her and we both felt it important to go,” he told the Times.
He insisted his daughter was not an extremist and described her as “just a normal a kid who is a victim of extremists.”
Hassan, who is unemployed, was speaking for the first time since footage of him emerged enthusiastically partaking in the burning of an American flag and marching at the front of a protest behind a banner reading, “The followers of Mohammed will conquer America.”
The march was led by Anjem Choudary and attended by Michael Adebolajo, one of the murderers of Lee Rigby.
Hassan insisted he was not an extremist and did not know who was leading the march. “It was a mass protest,” he said. “I had heard it was going on from mosques, so I went there, I just went by myself, I went to show my feelings because my religion was being insulted, my faith. Protesting is not radical, it is our right.”
“The crowd pushed me,” he claimed when asked how he came to be at the front. “I feel tricked. It is strange for me. I feel that I don’t know what I was doing… I just followed the crowd, I feel ashamed,” he said.
Hassan and his family gave evidence to the Parliamentary Home Affairs Committee in March. There, they blamed the police for letting the girls join ISIS and the head of the Metropolitan Police was forced to apologize for not knowing the movements of the three schoolgirls and for not sending warning letters directly to the parents.
The committee and its chair, Keith Vaz MP, also lectured the police chiefs on the need to ‘rebuild trust’ with Muslim communities in the wake the ‘oversight.’
Tasnime Akunjee, the lawyer representing the families, has also blamed the police for ‘failures’ and said they should have known where the girls were.
However Mr. Akunjee has previously campaigned for less surveillance of Muslims, said that British Muslims should not cooperate with the British police and that he believes that the security services ‘created’ Michael Adebolajo who killed Drummer Lee Rigby.
Hassan and his family came to Britain from Germany in 1999. “I came for democracy, for the freedom. For a better life for children, so they could learn English,” he claimed.