Teenager passports removed to stop IS recruits

Talha Asmal
Talha Asmal

Parents worried their teenage children are planning to join radical groups overseas will be able to ask for their passports to be removed under new measures announced by the Prime Minister today.

David Cameron will also unveil plans to treat those convicted of terrorist offences in the same way as sex offenders and automatically ban them from working with children.

The measures are part of a new ‘counter-extremism strategy’ attempting to stop young British Muslims coming under the influence of Islamic State and other terror organisations.

Just last week, West Yorkshire Police raised concerns that Bradford couple Imran and Farzana Ameen and their five children, aged five to 15, could be heading to Syria after taking one way flights to Turkey.

Earlier this year, the Dewsbury family of 17-year-old Talha Asmal said they were “utterly devastated” after he carried out a suicide bombing in northern Iraq.

The Prime Minister said: “I have said before that defeating Islamist extremism will be the struggle of our generation. It is one of the biggest social problems we need to overcome.

“We know that extremism is really a symptom; ideology is the root cause – but the stakes are rising and that demands a new approach. So we have a choice - do we choose to turn a blind eye or do we choose to get out there and make the case for our British values.

“The government’s new Counter-Extremism Strategy is a clear signal of the choice we have made to take on this poisonous ideology with resolve, determination and the goal of a building a greater Britain.

“And a key part of this new approach is going further to protect children and vulnerable people from the risk of radicalisation by empowering parents and public institutions with all the advice, tools and practical support they need.”

According to police figures, over the past year 56 of the 338 counter-terrorism arrests made have involved people under 20 and earlier this month a 15-year-old boy from Blackburn became the UK’s youngest convicted terrorist.

The Government announced in July that it would make it possible for parents to ask for the authorities to remove the passports of under-16s if there were concerns they could head overseas to join terror groups.

Downing Street said “several” teenagers had since been “protected” and today’s announcement will extend the power to 16 and 17-year-olds.

The Government’s plan to tackle extremism follows the Prime Minister’s promise earlier this month that he would embark on major social reforms over the next five years including confronting the “diseased view of the world” that was persuading British youngsters to join terror groups.

He has already promised Madrassas - Islamic religious schools - will be closed if they teach intolderance.