Following reports that Aseel Muthana, a terrorist who left South Wales to join IS, has been found alive in a prison in northern Syria by British journalists, his former schoolmates have spoken about their fear and disgust that some have called for his return.
The Cardiff-born Islamic State supporter secretly travelled to Syria in 2014 at the age of 17, telling his parents that he was going to a friend’s house for maths revision.
Two of his former St Cyres classmates, who do not wish to be named, wrote to their MP in response to the news and told him of the fear they felt when they heard that he wanted to return to the UK.
The former classmates wish to remain anonymous for their safety.
One former classmate commented:
“I felt sick with fear when I discovered that Aseel had been found alive. My friends and I who went to school with him had thought that he had been killed.
“I have recurring nightmares about him in which he is wearing a suicide vest and I have to alert others I know from school to run away. I wake up in sweats, terrified.
“I am frightened and disgusted by calls to allow him to return to the UK. Nobody expected him to become a jihadist, he seemed such a nice person. If he came back, he could dupe us again. I would not feel safe.
“My friends from school worry that he would one day be released if put in a British prison. Letting terrorists back into the UK puts us all at risk.”
Aseel’s former classmates feel so strongly about the matter, they are now lobbying the UK Government.
Vale MP Alun Cairns has been approached by ‘terrified’ constituents who attended St Cyres School in Dinas Powys with Aseel Muthana. They are asking for the UK Government to do everything possible to prevent his return, and their local MP has agreed to help.
Mr Cairns said:
“It was distressing to hear first-hand how scared and unsafe some of my young constituents feel at news that Aseel Muthana has been found in a prison in Syria. One young person in her early twenties told me she has been having nightmares about her jihadist former schoolmate since he joined Islamic State fighters in 2014.
“Those calling for compassion for IS terrorists should remember the brutality with which they dispatched thousands of innocents prior to their capture. We must put the security of the British people, including my constituents, before any misplaced sense of pity.
“If these jihadists were still at large, they would still be committing barbaric crimes as part of the IS regime. The only reason they now want to come home is because they have been defeated and imprisoned.
“I am clear that anyone who has left the UK to support terrorism is not welcome home.
“I have written to my colleague the Home Secretary about this case.”