‘Chil­dren not safe from ex­trem­ism’

Fam­i­lies of West­min­ster vic­tims say more must be done to pre­vent sus­pects from spread­ing ex­trem­ism

The Sunday Telegraph - - News - By Izzy Lyons

CHIL­DREN are not be­ing suf­fi­ciently pro­tected from ex­trem­ists, the fam­i­lies of the West­min­ster Bridge at­tack vic­tims have said.

John Frade, the hus­band of 44-yearold Aysha Frade who was one of five peo­ple killed by Khalid Ma­sood last March, said he was “com­pletely hor­ri­fied” when he dis­cov­ered that Ma­sood was able to teach chil­dren de­spite be­ing known to se­cu­rity ser­vices.

His com­ments come as pro­pos­als have been sub­mit­ted to Mark Lu­craft QC, the chief coro­ner of Eng­land and Wales, on be­half of all the vic­tims’ fam­i­lies sug­gest­ing that greater steps need to be taken to en­sure chil­dren are not ex­posed to ex­trem­ist ide­olo­gies.

The rec­om­men­da­tion, which the coro­ner will take into ac­count ahead of his Pre­ven­tion of Fu­ture Deaths re­port due in Novem­ber, fol­lows ev­i­dence at the West­min­ster Bridge in­quest which re­vealed Ma­sood’s ac­cess to chil­dren.

Two years af­ter be­ing flagged as a sub­ject of in­ter­est (SOI) by MI5, Ma­sood was able to teach English to So­ma­lian and Pak­istani im­mi­grant chil­dren at his lo­cal Birm­ing­ham mosque af­ter mov­ing to the area in June 2012, the in­quest heard

He first came to the at­ten­tion of MI5 in 2004, when his num­ber was found in the phone of Wa­heed Mah­mood, one of a group of ter­ror­ists who plot­ted to plant fer­tiliser bombs.

In 2010, he was made an SOI af­ter he was found to be an as­so­ci­ate of ex­trem­ists try­ing to get to an al-Qaeda train­ing camp in Pak­istan. How­ever, his case was closed at the end of the year.

The fam­i­lies who lost their loved ones last March have now pro­posed that “mea­sures should be in­tro­duced to reg­u­late the teach­ing of chil­dren by per­sons with con­vic­tions for vi­o­lence and ex­trem­ist ide­olo­gies.”

Speak­ing to The Sun­day Tele­graph, Mr Frade said: “We ab­so­lutely need tougher reg­u­la­tions. We know Ma­sood

was rad­i­calised and went onto rub shoul­ders with ex­trem­ist in­di­vid­u­als – but could some­how still teach chil­dren.

“It’s just hor­ri­fy­ing to know that the seeds of ex­trem­ist ide­olo­gies are po­ten­tially be­ing planted at such a young age and then these chil­dren grow into what they be­lieve to be Is­lam with a very rad­i­calised out­look.”

The Church of Eng­land re­quires an en­hanced crim­i­nal record check on any­one who wants to “teach, train, in­struct, care for, or su­per­vise chil­dren”.

A spokesman for the Mus­lim Coun­cil of Bri­tain (MCB), a na­tional body over­look­ing 500 UK mosques, said that they are a “very dif­fer­ent or­gan­i­sa­tion” from the Church.

The MCB added: “Bri­tish mosques are vol­un­tar­ily run, of­ten on shoe­string bud­gets. As a na­tional body we run work­shops on safe­guard­ing and en­cour­ag­ing good prac­tice.

“The MCB and its af­fil­i­ates are firmly op­posed to ter­ror­ism and take the safe­guard­ing of chil­dren and vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple as pri­or­ity.”

A Home Of­fice spokesman said it is the duty of lo­cal au­thor­i­ties to ad­here to the Govern­ment’s Pre­vent pro­gramme to stop such in­ter­ac­tions tak­ing place, adding: “This re­quires them to con­sider the risk of rad­i­cal­i­sa­tion and put in place nec­es­sary mea­sures.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.