The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

British jihadist’s father begs his son to come home

LONDON -- The father of a Briton who has appeared in a video aimed at recruiting Muslims to fight jihad in Syria and Iraq has pleaded for his son and other young Britons to come home.

A 13-minute English-language propaganda video titled “There Is No Life Without Jihad” emerged Thursday, with men who appeared to be British and Australian nationals urging Western Muslims to leave their comfortable lives and join their cause.

In the video, a slickly made production reportedly released by the media-savvy Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Nasser Muthana, a 20-year-old from Cardiff, Wales, is wearing a white turban and is identified by a caption reading,“Brother Abu Muthanna al Yemeni—from Britain.”

He says that as soldiers, “we understand no borders,” and that they plan to go to Iraq shortly to fight. It’s believed the film was shot in Syria.

“I wish I could hold him, hold his hand, ask him to come back,” Muthana’s father, Ahmed Muthana, told ITV News after watching the footage.

Another Briton in the video, who was clutching a rifle and identified as Abu Bara' al-Hindi, said: “My brothers living in the West, I know how you feel. When I used to live there, in the heart, you feel depressed… The cure for the depression is jihad.”

Storyful, a service that verifies videos, said it could not immediately independently verify the identity of the men.

British authorities estimate that 400 to 500 Britons have joined the insurgency in Syria and Iraq, often traveling to the region via Turkey. Peter Fahy, who leads the Association of Chief Police Officers’ counterterrorism strategy, told the BBC on Saturday that tracking British jihadis was a “top priority” for the police.

He also said they were removing “huge amounts of material every week” from the Internet in an attempt to deter would-be fighters.

Ahmed Muthana told British media outlets that his son was “normal” and “well-educated.” He said that his son had received offers from four universities to study medicine but that he may have been “brainwashed” in Cardiff.

“As a father I give a message to all -- not only to Nasser -- to all the people that go from Britain to Syria to fight: Please stop. Come back home,” he said.

On Thursday, the British government added ISIS and four other groups to a list of banned terrorist organizations in Britain, making it a crime to associate or give money to the group.