A young woman from Scotland has traveled to Syria to join extreme Islamic fighters and encouraged Muslims in Britain to bring the “battlefield” to the streets.
Aqsa Mahmood, 20, who is originally from Glasgow, is the daughter of a wealthy businessman and was educated at a prestigious private school, the Daily Mail reports.
Prime Minister David Cameron announced yesterday that police will be given temporary powers to seize extremists’ passports, as concern rises over British jihadis returning home to carry out terrorist acts.
Police Scotland and security services said they were aware of Mahmood, who was reported missing by her family in November 2013 and abandoned a university course to join Islamic State militants fighting in Syria.
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Since leaving for Syria, Mahmood got married and has been busy tweeting about her life.
Using the name Umm Layth, she has tweeted radical messages, including a call for others to copy the May 2013 murder of British soldier Lee Rigby, the April 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and the fatal April 2014 shooting at Fort Hood U.S. Army base in Texas.
“Follow the example of your Brothers from Woolwich, Texas and Boston etc. Have no fear as Allah swt is always with the Believers,” Mahmood says in a tweet.
“If you cannot make it to the battlefield, then bring the battlefield to yourself,” Mahmood, whose profile carries a picture of the black flag of terrorist group Islamic State, tweeted on June 27.
Her Twitter account has since been deleted, but BBC managed to grab a screenshot of some of her other tweets:
About 500 British men have joined forces with Islamic State fighters in Syria and Iraq, and Cameron’s plan comes after the Islamic State video of an apparent British national beheading American journalist James Foley, the New York Daily News reports.
Mahmood’s involvement with radical Islam stunned her family and friends.
Her father moved from Pakistan to Scotland where he built up thriving businesses. Mahmood was sent to the exclusive Craigholme School where friends remembered her as a Westernized girl, who loved make-up and clothes and liked to gossip with fellow pupils, the Daily Mail notes.
In a statement, Brendan Farrelly, principal of the school said: “Aqsa Mahmood was a pupil here from 2005 up until three years ago. She left at the end of S5 in 2011. It is our policy not to comment on individual pupils, past or present.”