As reports emerge today of Kadiza Sultana’s death in Syria, we are reminded of the families and loved ones who have been heartbroken and devastated by such grave loss.
London schoolgirl Kadiza Sultana was one of three teenagers from Bethnal Green who fled to Syria last year, leaving behind her home and family in Britain. Going in search of the false utopian state propagated by Daesh, she soon told her family about her disillusionment with life in Raqqa. Reports suggest she was killed in May by an airstrike, not long after telling her sister she wanted to escape.
Kadiza’s family solicitor spoke publicly of the family’s mourning and desolation, after knowing that Kadiza had plans to leave the terrorist organisation a year before her killing. Kadiza’s sister, Halima Khanom, also spoke about how “helpless” she felt speaking to her on the phone and hearing her “terrified” voice.
This is just another case in a series of tragedies serving as a reminder to spot the signs before it is impossible to turn events around. We need to be aware when our loved ones are becoming increasingly vulnerable and we mustn’t be afraid to reach out for help when we need to. Sometimes the love of a mother, sister, brother or father can make all the difference.
Kadiza’s death is also a shocking indication that no matter how desperate someone is to escape from Daesh, there is no guarantee they will return. Families must be alert to the fact that no matter how intelligent and academically driven their children may be, they are still potentially vulnerable to lure of extremist groups. We must educate our girls on the dangers they will face if they fall prey to extremist propaganda.
Eradicating the threat of radicalisation is more vital than ever. At FAST, we encourage families to be vigilant in spotting the signs in their children early. We also offer help and care for families dealing with the loss of a child to the evil of radicalisation. Don’t wait until it’s too late.