Raziye Akkoc, Telegraph (London), July 4, 2014
A British man who claims he is fighting with jihadists in Syria has said he would not return to the UK until “the black flag of Islam” flies over Buckingham Palace and Downing Street.
The man, who called himself Abu Osama, said he had received military training, including how to build bombs and shoot weapons, during his time in Syria.
Speaking with a West Yorkshire accent in an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live, he described the 7/7 London bombers as “heroic lions”, claiming “there is nothing in Britain–it is just pure evil”.
Osama said he was fighting with the extremist Al-Nusra Front, linked to Al-Qaeda. However the BBC said his claims had not been “officially verified”.
The man told presenter Nicky Campbell: “I have no intention of coming back to Britain, because I have come to revive the Islamic Khilafah [the Arabic term for the creation of a caliphate].
“I don’t want to come back to what I have left behind.
“If and when I come back to Britain it will be when this Khilafah–this Islamic state–comes to conquer Britain and I come to raise the black flag of Islam over Downing Street, over Buckingham Palace, over Tower Bridge and over Big Ben.”
His comments come after more than 100 imams, from different parts of the faith, urged British Muslims not to go to Syria or Iraq, and to offer assistance from the UK.
In the letter, the imams wrote: “Ramadan, the month of mercy, teaches us the value of unity and perseverance and we urge the British Muslim communities to continue the generous and tireless efforts to support all of those affected by the crisis in Syria and unfolding events in Iraq, but to do so from the UK in a safe and responsible way.”
One of the signatories of the letter, Imam Qari Muhammad Asim, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme more than 100 imams across Britain would urge members of their congregation not to go to Syria in Friday prayers.
He condemned the comments made by Osama and said the man had been “completely hijacked”.
The imam at Makkah Mosque said: “Radicalisation doesn’t take place overnight–Islam has been hijacked. Social media and the internet plays a huge part in radicalisation and brainwashing.”
But he added a lot of work had to be done and it was not only the responsibility of the Muslim community and imams, but law enforcement as well.
The man speaking to the BBC said his family initially found it hard to accept his decision “because no mother wants to lose her son” but his family now “understands that this is a good cause I am in”.
He added: “”They are a bit scared but I tell them we will meet in the afterlife. This is just a temporary separation.
“They said, ‘We understand now what you are doing’, and my mother said, ‘I have sold you to Allah. I don’t want to see you again in this world’.”