Family of ‘Beatles’ jihadist fled from extremists to UK
ONE of the British “Beatles” jihadists captured in Syria after fighting with Isil had himself fled persecution from Islamic extremists as a child, The Sunday Telegraph can reveal.
El Shafee Elsheikh is from of a family of five who fled hardline Muslims targeting liberal intellectuals in their home country of Sudan.
Rashid Sidahmed Elsheikh, his father, had escaped from Sudan with Maha, his then wife, and their three children in the Nineties, fearing his liberal views put them in danger with the then pro-jihadist government.
In 2015, Mr Elsheikh, a translator and poet, gave an interview explaining how he had fled the north African country due to civil war and found refuge in London. Despite the family’s harrowing experience of Islamic extremism, two of Mr Elsheikh’s three sons ended up joining Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
Shafee went to Syria in 2012 and became a member of the infamous “Beatles”, while Mahmoud, the youngest, was killed fighting near Tikrit in 2015.
After his youngest son’s death, Mr Elsheikh said he was “devastated”, adding that he believed both his children had been “brainwashed” while growing up in west London.
He said he believed the youngsters’ ability to empathise with people had been “numbed” having been told by Islamic extremists that they were doing the duty of god.