British schoolgirl 'death' in Syria: "We need to offer an escape route for people", says counter-extremism expert

Extremism: 'We need to offer an escape route for people', says counter-extremism expert

The families of missing British schoolgirls Shamima Begum and Amira Abase

Friday, August 12, 2016

A British schoolgirl is believed to have been killed in a Russian airstrike in Syria, apparently while trying to escape the country having arrived with two friends last year, aged 16, to join terror-group ISIS.

A strategic communications officer at the Quilliam Foundation, a counter-extremism thinktank, has told talkRADIO an "escape route" needs to be offered to non-violent people who link up with extremist organisations.

The apparent death of Kadiza Sultana, who left her home in Bethnal Green, East London, in February 2015 with friends Shamima Begum and Amira Abase, was reported by ITV News but has not been independently verified.

She is believed to have been killed in an airstrike on the house in which she was living in ISIS-stronghold Raqqa in May. 

The family's lawyer, Tasnime Akunjee, said Kadiza had wanted to return to the UK, but feared being attacked for trying to escape.

"[This] should serve as a warning to people that these narratives are very powerful, but they are lies," Quilliam's Joshua Stewart told Julia Hartley-Brewer. 

"You can be brought into a virtual ideological echo-chamber – it hits you again and again, it breaks down the infrastructure of truth.

"There needs to be a way back for people who are tempted in to extremism, we need to offer an escape route for people."

Listen to the full interview to find out more