Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

Terror police 'doing best they can'

Screengrab taken from YouTube of a video showing Islamist fighters, who claim to be British, appearing in a recruitment video for the terrorist group Isis

An anti-terror chief has denied that police are failing to prevent the radicalisation of young Muslims willing to fight overseas.

South Wales Assistant Chief Constable Nikki Holland, who is the head of Wales's counter-terrorism unit, said police could not "keep a hold" of all those willing to join insurgents in Syria and Iraq.

And she claimed they are doing the "best job they can" to stop young men from joining the ranks of around 500 British jihadis who have gone to the Middle East to fight.

It comes after the father of a man from Cardiff who featured in a propaganda video for insurgent group the Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria (Isis) reportedly accused police of failing to gain the trust of Welsh Muslims.

Ms Holland told the BBC: "We're talking about a couple of men; people realise the police can't keep a hold of everybody, but the police are doing the best job they can.

"We have a substantial amount of people involved in counter-terrorism for all the Welsh forces - it isn't just for South Wales.

"It's more important in terms of working with the partners... being able to speak to people and prevent radicalisation.

"It's not something the police can do on their own. We can only work with our partners and the community to prevent radicalisation."

Ahmed Muthana, whose sons Nasser and Aseel Muthana are thought to be fighting in Syria, reportedly claimed that police had not won the trust of Cardiff's Muslim communities because their Prevent counter-terror team is mainly white.

His oldest son, Nasser, featured in the video by Isis, which called for Muslims in the West to join the insurgency in Syria and Iraq.

A second man from Cardiff, identified as 20-year-old Reyaad Khan, and Abdul Raqib Amin, who grew up in Aberdeen, can also be seen in the footage.

Ms Holland said Cardiff did not have a greater problem than anywhere else in the Uk.

"What we can say nationally is that people are radicalised through various institutions, education establishments on some occasions, through the internet a lot," she said.

"I don't think you can necessarily pin down how this happened in Cardiff."

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