29 Aug 2015

Police hunt for missing mother and children bound for Syria

Scotland Yard are hunting for a mother and her four children who are believed to be travelling to Syria.

Police are trying to trace Zahera Tariq who is thought to be travelling with her three sons Muhammed, 12, Ammar, 11, Aadid, four, and her nine-year-old daughter Safiyyah.

The family were last seen at their home in Walthamstow in east London on Tuesday and their disappearance was reported to the police by a family member, who raised concerns that they were heading to the war-torn country.

The Metropolitan Police later found CCTV images of the family at London City Airport just before they boarded a flight to Amsterdam.

The 33-year-old mother was picture pushing a trolley loaded with four suitcases and the children can be seen wearing rucksacks.

Commander Richard Walton, from the Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command, said there is “no current information” to suggest the family have already reached Syria.

He 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.

“Whilst we do have some concerns that Zahera may be thinking of travelling to Syria, there is no current information to suggest that she’s already travelled there.

“Her family are extremely worried about her and her three sons and daughter and we would urge anybody with information to contact us as soon as possible.”

The police are liaising with international counter-parts including those in the Netherlands to try and track down the family.

Speaking to Channel 4 News, Sara Khan from the Muslim women’s rights organisation, Inspire, said not enough is being done by British Muslim communities to prevent women and families heading to Syria or combat IS propaganda reaching those women.

She said “the debate into trying to deconstruct the Isis argument is often regularly closed down by the Muslim community itself.”