The Home Secretary and Metropolitan Police have thanked the Daily Mail newspaper for an investigation that revealed how a 16 year old schoolgirl from Hackney was being lured to ISIS in Syria to be a ‘jihadi bride.’
The Daily Mail team learned that one of their undercover reporters was being persuaded to act as chaperone for a 16 year old being persuaded to travel to Syria in a sophisticated route designed to outwit the authorities.
The schoolgirl had just completed sitting her GCSEs and was due to travel via Switzerland at half-term.
The police have been able to intervene.
Commander Richard Walton, of the Counter Terrorism Command (SO15), said:
Following an undercover investigation by the Daily Mail, we were made aware of a vulnerable young girl on Monday.
Officers acted promptly and were able to identify the girl concerned and preventative steps have now been taken.
We are grateful for the detailed information the journalist was able and willing to give us.
It was obvious from the conversations we had that the safety of the girl was the priority for everyone concerned.
Home Secretary Theresa May said:
This Daily Mail investigation shows the seriousness of the threat we face from IS. The police and security services are working hard every day to keep our country safe.
But it is up to all of us to stand united against extremism and stop young and vulnerable people from being drawn into this kind of trouble.
Commander Walton added:
This case is a frightening example of how quickly social media can be used to groom vulnerable young people. If the reporter had truly been a 16 year old girl it would only have been a matter of weeks between the creation of the a twitter account to travelling to Syria. This is a stark reminder to parents and the community of the speed with which these cases can develop.
The Daily Mail says its investigation has revealed four new tactics being adopted by ISIS recruiters:
- School children are being groomed using secretive encrypted apps on their tablets and smartphones that are thought to be beyond the sight of the police;
- The apps are run by Left-wing activists, who turn a blind eye to the terrorists because of their concerns about ‘Big Brother’ surveillance;
- British teenagers are now being advised to travel to Syria via several other European countries so it looks as if they are just going on holiday;
- They are being told to pack nothing Islamic, make sure they are not wearing Islamic clothing in passport pictures, and to wear Western clothes and make up to the airport.