COMMUNITY leaders have called for an urgent focus on the positive aspects of Somalian culture after a second young man from Camden was linked to high-profile international terrorism in as many weeks.
Ibrahim Magag is wanted by police after breaking residence conditions of his Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measure (TPIM) imposed on him over alleged links to Somali militant group Al-Shabaab.
Last night (Wednesday), Metropolitan Police said they believed the 28-year-old was last seen wearing a khaki robe and blue trainers boarding a taxi in Osnaburgh Street in Regent’s Park on Boxing Day evening. They said he is not considered to be a direct threat to the British public.
His disappearance came just five days after the FBI announced that missing former Haverstock School pupil Mahdi Hashi, 23, had appeared in a New York court charged with training and operating with the same group in Somalia.
Khadija Shireh, director of the British Somali Community, based in Grafton Road, Gospel Oak, said: “People will see these stories and everybody will say all Somalian boys are dangerous. But there are a lot of positive things coming out of the Somali community in Camden.
“People are trying to integrate really, and have a positive image.”
A celebration of young Somalian success is being held at Fleet Road Community Centre today (Thursday), where dozens of teenagers will receive special awards for good behaviour and completing school courses.
Ms Shireh said there was a growing trend of young Somalians wishing to visit their “mother country” in the past few months after a change of government there.
She said: “The situation in Somalia has changed. Some are being encouraged to go back to Somalia by their families.
“But many young people cannot really travel now to Somalia – you would be stopped. Now, because the government is elected, I think there is no excuse to stop somebody from going back to their country.”
Mr Magag had been banned from travelling to Somalia under conditions of his TPIM.
He had been moved to the West Country by security services over his alleged connections to Al Shabaab in Somalia and an extremist group in London but, under coalition government legislation changes, was recently allowed to return to live in the capital.
The Metropolitan Police said that, while Mr Magag was being monitored under a TPIM, he posed “no direct threat” to anyone in this country.
The Cage Prisoners campaign group, which is supporting Mr Hashi, revealed yesterday (Wednesday) that Mr Magag had contacted LBC Radio during a Nick Ferrari chat show in November about Muslim cleric Abu Qatada.
In an internet post on the group’s website, campaigner Asim Qureshi said: “During the show, he explained that while Qatada had chosen to fight deportation out of the UK, he [Mr Magag] had requested that, instead of being persecuted, he be allowed to leave and go to a Muslim country where he would not be subjected to allegations that had little factual basis.”
Mr Hashi, who grew up in Camden and lived in Gilbeys Yard, Chalk Farm, had not been accused of any crimes in this country when he was stripped of his British citizenship by Home Secretary Theresa May. He was arrested by the American authorities in Somalia and charged with serious terrorism offences in Brooklyn shortly afterwards. He is facing life in prison, the FBI said.
Earlier, it was claimed he had been “harassed” by security services after refusing to spy on fellow practising Muslims in Camden.
Ms Shireh added: “There has for a long time been a problem of alleging terrorism among Somalians, but what is really unusual is this stripping of nationality. That has been a big issue for the community in Camden: a question of the liberty of people.
“This has started now, and it may be setting a precedent.”
A Campaign Against Criminalising Communities meeting in support of Mr Hashi will be held in Camden Town Hall from 7pm on January 18.