Khadra Jama : my daughters snatched by ISIS
London ( Sunday Times + DIPLOMAT.SO) – The mother of two British teenagers who are believed to have travelled to Syria to marry ISIS fighters after becoming radicalised online was taken by the group as she tried to rescue them, it has been reported.
Zahra and Salma Halane, both 16, of Chorlton, Manchester, are thought to have married in the war-torn nation since disappearing overnight from their home in June.
Their father Ibrahim, 52, and mother Khadra Jama, 45, who are originally from Somalia, travelled to the region to try to bring them home but Khadra was detained by fighters.
She was later released and returned to Britain after her daughter insisted that Allah had ‘chosen’ for them to be in Syria.
The parents made their rescue attempt in July, first flying to Turkey to link up with a Muslim charity worker from Denmark, reports the Sunday Times.
The charity worker made contact with sources inside Syria and one of them knew the ISIS chief in al-Bab, where one of the girls is believed to live, who gave him safe passage.
A source told the paper: ‘He talked to her for a long time but she didn’t want to return. She said she had been exclusively chosen by Allah to come to al-Sham (Syria).’
He then crossed back into Turkey before travelling to the Syrian town of Manbij, where the other sister lives.
This time Khadra accompanied him, but the pair were arrested on suspicion of being Danish and British spies before they could see the daughter.
Details are murky about how, but the pair were freed in September and Khadra returned home.
Greater Manchester Police said: ‘It is not a criminal offence to travel there’ when asked if they had questioned the mother.
The twins had previously vowed never to return home after going to Syria and social media updates suggest the pair are training to use grenades and Kalashnikov rifles.
Previous tweets from Zahra included messages such as ‘I support the executions of Syrian soldiers. It’s self defence’ and pictures of machine guns alongside the Koran.
The pair have 28 GCSEs between them and were planning to become doctors, having just finished their first year of sixth-form college, but were said to have been radicalised over the internet.
Ibrahim and Khadra have 10 children and their 21-year-old son Ahmed is said to be fighting with Al Shabaab, a militant group in Somalia.
A senior member of the Somali community in Manchester said they were ‘appalled’ at the sisters’ actions
‘Everyone is really shocked the twins are still in Syria with these so-called jihadi fighters who are carrying out such atrocities,’ he said.
‘We, as a Somali people, are all appalled by their actions but we are also desperately sad for their family.