The father of the first Bethnal Green academy schoolgirl to travel to Syria to join the Islamic state says he warned the police and school to monitor his daughter’s three best friends who later followed her.
In an interview with the Daily Mail Mohammad Uddin said more could have been done to intercept his 15 year old daughter Sharmeena Begum when she was in Turkey.
He said he advised: ‘Keep an eye on the three girls, maybe they’ll give you a clue.’
He said 15 year old Shamima Begum, Kadiza Sultana, who’s 16, and 15 year old Amira Abase, were his daughter’s closest friends.
He told the newspaper:
I was pretty sure when my daughter went missing that the four girls would have gone together. And when I realised (they hadn’t) I was surprised.
Mr Uddin revealed in the interview that his daughter was dealing with the death of her mother from cancer at the age of 33 in the year before her disappearance and that he had remarried.
The paper revealed that two women in their early twenties had been interviewed by the police in connection with assisting Sharmeena to board a plane to Turkey in December last year on her way to Syria.
The Met Police in a previous statement have said that when they spoke to the friendship circle of Mr Uddin’s daughter on 9th December 2014 in the presence of the school’s deputy head teacher:
…there was no indication that any of the girls spoken to were in any way vulnerable or indeed radicalised. There was no indication that any of the girls were at risk of travelling to Syria.
In a further meeting on 5th February 2015 the Met Police say:
all the teenagers were all being co-operative, they were all being treated as potential witnesses and there was nothing whatsoever to indicate that they themselves were planning to travel to Syria.
The Education Secretary Nicky Morgan wrote a letter to Bethnal Green Academy on 24th February this year stating:
…I understand from my conversations with the Regional Schools Commissioner Tim Coulson that your communications with parents and pupils have been clear and effective, and that you feel confident that everything possible is being done to keep pupils safe.