Parents of IS-linked Aqsa Mahmood feel 'betrayed'

Khalida and Muzaffar Mahmood say they "feel nothing but sorrow and shame" for their daughter

Related Stories

The family of a 20-year-old woman from Glasgow who has travelled to Syria and married an Islamic State (IS) fighter have said that she has betrayed them.

Khalida Mahmood and Muzaffar Mahmood said they were horrified to learn their daughter Aqsa had become radicalised.

They spoke after comments attributed to their daughter on Twitter called on people in Britain to repeat terrorist atrocities seen in Woolwich and the US.

Mr and Mrs Mahmood said they loved their daughter and wanted her home.

In a statement, the couple said: "We still love you, Aqsa, but we now have to put your family, your brother and sisters first as you have betrayed us, our community and the people of Scotland when you took this step.

"You have torn the heart out of our family and changed our lives forever. Please come home."

They warned: "If our daughter, who had all the chances and freedom in life, could become a bedroom radical, then it is possible for this to happen to any family."

'Happy home'

Privately-educated Aqsa is reported to have encouraged terrorist acts via a Twitter account under the name Umm Layth. The account has since been deleted.

She travelled through Turkey to Aleppo in Syria in November and was reported missing to police.

Before disappearing she attended Craigholme School, then university and was "well integrated into society", her parents said.

Aqsa Mahmood's father Muzaffar Aqsa Mahmood's father Muzaffar said in a statement that she was brought up with love and affection
Aqsa Mahmood's mother Khalida Aqsa Mahmood's mother Khalida said in a statement her family feel nothing but sorrow and shame for her
Khalida Mahmood, Aamer Anwar and Muzaffar Mahmood Mr and Mrs Mahmood's statement was read by their solicitor Aamer Anwar

They said she was brought up "with love and affection in a happy home".

Mrs Mahmood wiped away tears as solicitor Aamer Anwar read a statement on her and her husband's behalf at a news conference in Glasgow.

They said: "She may believe that the jihadists of Isis are her new family but they are not and are simply using her."

The parents, who remained silent during the conference, said in the statement: "Aqsa was always a very sweet, peaceful, intelligent child and inquisitive about everything.

'High hopes'

"We had high hopes for her and would have loved for her to be a doctor and to save lives.

"We dreamed that one day we would see her married with children but sadly that no longer looks likely.

"As parents we would have liked for her to listen to us but we gave her everything possible in terms of love, freedom and education and she chose the path which we could never approve of."

They added: "All parents want to be proud of their children but sadly we now feel nothing but sorrow and shame for Aqsa.

Aqsa with her three siblings and mother Aqsa with her three siblings - elder brother and younger sisters - and mother

"We are not in denial and do not make any excuses for her and absolutely condemn her involvement in Isis and recent comments.

"But she is our daughter and we still love her, fear for her life and would urge her to return home whilst she still can."

Aqsa contacted her parents after arriving in Syria and had kept in touch through social media until Tuesday, when newspapers reported of her involvement with IS.

Mr Anwar said: "Because of yesterday, all contact appears to have terminated with their daughter.

"So, they are hoping that this plea will go out to their daughter and that she will think again and return home.

'Wrong and deluded'

"They want her to come home while she still can. They are telling her that she is wrong, that she is deluded if she thinks she is helping people in Syria."

The solicitor said Aqsa, a British national, had become "concerned and upset" by media and online reports of the killing in Syria and had told her parents she wanted to help.

Her parents, who are liaising with Police Scotland, said: "IS are killing in the name of religion and claiming to defend the weak, but by joining with them our daughter is brainwashed and deluded and helping those engaged in genocide.

"There is no smoking gun, no family member, no fundamentalist preacher that can be blamed for her radicalisation.

"Aqsa, like many young people in our community, was naturally angry and frustrated at the loss of innocent life in the Middle East but this is not the way to help."

They added: "We are concerned that a growing climate of fear in this country means that children will not discuss how they feel with their family and friends, and this will only spell disaster for society.

"We know that in the days and months ahead we will be scouring social media for clues of whether our daughter is still alive.

"As we try to hold back the tears today, we feel we have lost our child."

More on This Story

Related Stories

BBC Glasgow & West

Weather

Glasgow

10 °C 3 °C

Scotland Live

  1.  
    08:24: CalMac sailings liable to disruption BBC Scotland Travel Latest

    Due to adverse weather, sailings on the Mallaig - Armadale service are on amber alert today and are liable to disruption.

    Keep an eye on the latest on the CalMac website.

     
  2.  
    08:10: 'Immense' council savings sought

    Councillors will meet later to discuss cuts to services and staff to help Highland Council save £55m over the next four years.

    The local authority's budget leader Maxine Smith has described the scale of savings it must achieve as "immense".

    Scottish bank notes and pound coins

    She said the administration had listened to public feedback on proposed cuts and it had sought to protect frontline services and jobs.

    An opposition group of councillors has suggested alternative savings.

    A full meeting of the council in Inverness will consider the rival proposals from the SNP/Lib Dem/Labour coalition, which runs the council, and from the Independent group.

     
  3.  
    07:55: Some dogs are more than just a companion Louise Sayers BBC Scotland

    Hearing dogs can help deaf people with everything from waking up in the morning to alerting them to sounds such as a phone or a doorbell ringing.

    Aster the hearing dog

    They could even be responsible for saving their deaf partner's life in an emergency.

    I've been to meet Aster: The first Hearing Dog to be trained entirely in Scotland.

     
  4.  
    07:50: Naismith feeling good about Goodison

    Scotland international Steven Naismith says he is on the crest of a wave at Everton.

    The former Rangers forward has signed a new three-year deal to remain at Goodison until 2019.

    Steven Naismith scoring for Everton

    "I would say this is probably the best form of my career," he said. "I'm delighted to have agreed an extension which will keep me here for a few more years yet."

    The 28-year-old, who joined Everton from Rangers in 2012, has found the net six times this season.

     
  5.  
    07:42: Occupational hazard David Miller BBC Scotland environment correspondent

    Scotland could lose the ability to respond quickly to nuclear emergencies if staffing is cut at a monitoring station, it has been claimed.

    The warning came from the former head of the Centre for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards in Glasgow.

    The CRCE laboratory was the first in the UK to detect radioactive fallout from the Fukushima disaster

    The laboratory was the first in the UK to detect trace amounts of radioactive fallout from Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in March 2011.

    It was established in the 1970s by the National Radiological Protection Board.

     
  6.  
    Travel update BBC Scotland Travel Latest

    The A725 is partially blocked by a broken down car at the Bellziehill Roundabout. Police are directing traffic.

     
  7.  
    07:35: What the papers say

    Care home children as young as 13 were caught by police at a "booze-fuelled alleged sex party", according to the Scottish Sun.

    The Daily Record describes how a man dressed as Santa was "huckled" by police after he hitched a ride on the Wellington statue in Glasgow.

    Thursday's newspapers

    The National reports on the "solidarity" shown by the people of Scotland to those affected by the Peshawar school massacre in Pakistan.

    Read our paper review here.

     
  8.  
    07:33: Tories urge house-buying tax change

    The Scottish Conservatives believe the "eye-watering" new tax rate for people buying homes between £250,000 and £500,000 should be halved.

    The Tories have outlined proposals for a property tax scale which they said would be fairer than that being introduced by the Scottish government.

    For Sale sign

    The new Land and Building Transactions Tax will replace stamp duty on houses purchased in Scotland from 1 April.

    Ministers claim tax will be reduced on houses costing up to £325,000.

     
  9.  
    07:29: Rangers latest

    Speculation over the future of Rangers manager Ally McCoist dominates the back pages of this morning's papers.

    McCoist remains in place following a meeting with the club's board but will be a hot topic of debate at Monday's AGM, the papers say.

    Rangers boss Ally McCoist

    Meanwhile, Hearts owner Ann Budge wants the Edinburgh side back in European competition by 2017.

    Read our round-up of the back page headlines here.

     
  10.  
    07:21: Rich tapestry of life

    Borders councillors are to decide whether to go ahead with building a permanent home for the Great Tapestry of Scotland, at Tweedbank.

    The Scottish government has pledged £2.5m towards the scheme.

    However, that still means Scottish Borders Council would have to allocate up to £3.5m.

    The Great Tapestry of Scotland

    A report reckons the building could draw tens of thousands of visitors a year to the site, which is near to one end of the new Borders Railway line.

    Officially the world's largest embroidered tapestry, the 469ft (143m) artwork uses 300 miles (483km) of yarn to depict 42 million years of Scottish history across 160 panels.

     
  11.  
    07:14: Praise for university research Jamie McIvor BBC Scotland education correspondent

    The range and quality of research at Scotland's universities has been praised in a new UK-wide survey.

    Most Scottish universities have maintained or improved their standing in the league table.

    Overall Edinburgh University came out in 4th place while Glasgow University was 13th.

    More than 85% of university research in Scotland was judged to have an outstanding or very significant impact in wider society and economy.

    This figure was higher than the UK average.

     
  12.  
    07:08: Also on GMS Gary Robertson BBC Radio Scotland

    'Uncertainty' concern for Scottish finance sector, says Jeremy Peat.

    Jeremy Peat has compiled a new study of Scotland's financial sector.

    He's on #bbcgms at 07:35.

    Get the background from our Business and economy editor, Douglas Fraser.

     
  13.  
    07:05: Coming up... Gary Robertson BBC Radio Scotland

    More than 130,000 people expected in and out of @EDI_Airport over the festive period. Where are they heading? CEO Gordon Dewar #bbcgms 0720

    Good Morning Scotland programme

    Listen to the programme here.

     
  14.  
    How's the weather looking? BBC Scotland Weather Latest

    Hi, Kawser here. Cloudy with rain & drizzle in the West - heavy at times. Drier and brighter further East. Colder & showery in Northern Scotland. Strong coastal winds.

     
  15.  
    07:02: Oil industry 'close to collapse'

    The UK's oil industry is in "crisis" as prices drop, a senior industry leader has told the BBC.

    Oil companies and service providers are cutting staff and investment to save money.

    Robin Allan, chairman of the independent explorers' association Brindex, told the BBC that the industry is "close to collapse".

    North Sea oil rig

    Almost no new projects in the North Sea are profitable with oil below $60, he claims.

    "It's almost impossible to make money at these oil prices", Mr Allan, who is a director of Premier Oil in addition to chairing Brindex, told the BBC. "It's a huge crisis."

     
  16.  
    07:00: Welcome Thomas McGuigan BBC Scotland News

    It's early, it's time to get moving, it's Thursday's edition of Scotland Live...

     

Features

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.