Missing schoolgirls may have been recruited by British woman
Girls believed to have contacted woman who left Scotland to marry Islamic State fighter
Still taken from CCTV of (from left to right) Amira Abase (15), Kadiza Sultana (16) and Shamima Begum (15) at Gatwick airport. The three girls are suspected of attempting to travel to Syria to join Islamic State. Photograph: Metropolitan Police/EPA
The family of a British woman who travelled to Syria to marry an Islamic State fighter have branded her a “disgrace” and expressed anger that she may have tried to recruit three missing schoolgirls to the militant group.
Police are urgently trying to trace Shamima Begum, 15, Kadiza Sultana, 16, and Amira Abase (15) after they flew to Istanbul in Turkey from Gatwick Airport on Tuesday.
At least one of the girls, who attended Bethnal Green Academy in east London, was reportedly in contact on Twitter with Aqsa Mahmood, who left her Glasgow home in November 2013 after becoming radicalised.
In a statement released through their lawyer Aamer Anwar, Ms Mahmood’s family said they were “full of horror and anger” that she may have had a role to play in “the recruitment of these young girls to Isis”.
In a direct message to Ms Mahmood, they said: “You are a disgrace to your family and the people of Scotland, your actions are a perverted and evil distortion of Islam. You are killing your family every day with your actions, they are begging you stop if you ever loved them.”
Privately-educated Ms Mahmood is reported to have encouraged terrorist acts via a Twitter account under the name Umm Layth.
She travelled through Turkey to Aleppo in Syria in November 2013 and was reported missing to police.
Before disappearing she attended Craigholme School, then university and was “well integrated into society”, her parents said.
Ms Mahmood’s family said security services had “serious questions to answer” over her alleged contact with the missing girls because her social media has been monitored since her disappearance.
In a statement on Saturday, 15-year-old Amira’s family said: “Amira, We miss you so much, everyone, your family and your friends.
“We want you to come home as soon as possible. All we are hoping for is you to come home safe, we love you so much. Please come home Amira, everyone is missing you. You are strong, smart, beautiful and we are hoping you will make the right decision.
“We miss you more that you can imagine. We are worried and we want you to think about what you have left behind. You had a bright future, so please return home.”