Radical cleric’s Twitter condolences to Portsmouth family of jihadi fighter killed in Syria

Ifthekar Jaman pictured in a video interview with the BBC's Newsnight programme
Ifthekar Jaman pictured in a video interview with the BBC's Newsnight programme

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A RADICAL cleric messaged the family of a young Portsmouth man who died fighting in the civil war in Syria.

When Ifthekar Jaman, 23, died weeks after it was revealed he left his Southsea home to join an Islamic group in Syria, his family was contacted by Palestinian-American Ahmad Musa Jibril.

The message, sent privately over the social media website Twitter but posted publicly by Ifthekar’s brother on the site, expressed Jibril’s condolences.

The message said: ‘I didn’t know him but when I read of him today it made me weep, may Allah be with you and may Allah grant him ferdous.

‘Give me salam, love and respect to all the family. If I was there it would be a great honor to visit you all.’

There is no suggestion the brother was involved in any jihadi activity.

As reported in The News, Mr Jaman was fighting with ISIS – the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. The al-Qaeda linked group wants to establish a regional caliphate – an Islamic state.

Mr Jaman said it was his ‘duty’ to do so as Muslims were ‘being slaughtered’.

It comes as academics at King’s College London this week published research into the social media profiles of 190 foreign fighters in Syria.

It found that more than two thirds of those were affiliated with al-Qaeda linked Jabhat al-Nusrah or ISIS.

Speaking of ISIS, Shiraz Maher, one of three authors of the #Greenbirds report from King’s College London, said: ‘The overwhelming majority of people within our database belong to ISIS.

‘They are very willing to take foreign fighters, they have very low threshold for who they’ll take and of course they brand their material.

‘For young people that visual imagery is very attractive, very seductive.’

The report found that the Syrian conflict has created two prominent new spiritual authorities who foreign fighters look to for inspiration. That includes Jibril and Australian preacher Musa Cerantonio, who called for the assassination of US politicians. Facebook pulled his page yesterday.

It said that Jibril does not incite people to take up arms in Syria, but acts as a ‘cheerleader’ for those who do. Researchers say that Cerantonio’s posts on Facebook, where he has 11,000 followers, suggest he supports ISIS.

Abu-Suyeb Tanzam, a committee member at the Jami Mosque, in Southsea, said people should turn to their local mosque for spiritual guidance.

He said: ‘They’re risking their lives and dying in front of the combat field with the professional army from the Assad regime... they’re giving their life for nothing.

‘They can help in so many other ways. They want to help on humanitarian grounds, otherwise they should not go.’

As reported, counter-terrorism police swooped on a house in Hudson Road linked to the Jaman family on April 1.

No-one was arrested and nothing was seized in the two-day search.

Mr Jaman’s family was not available for comment.