ISIS terror, ‘made in the USA’


This video from the USA is called Surprise! America’s Allies are Funding ISIS.

By Jean Shaoul:

ISIS: The jihadist movement stamped “Made in America”

30 July 2014

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is made up of forces variously estimated at between 3,000 and 10,000 fighters. It has taken over much of eastern Syria and northern and western Iraq, as well as the Trabil crossing on the Jordan–Iraq border. Its territory now extends to within 76 miles (122 kilometres) of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.

The group has declared its intention of establishing a caliphate in the region, eliminating all the borders established in the Middle East by Britain and France after World War I along the lines of the secret Sykes-Picot agreement of 1915.

Last month, working with armed tribal leaders and former members of Saddam Hussein’s outlawed Baath Party, it captured the northern city of Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq, took control of its military and commercial resources, and continued expanding south along the Tigris River, taking the city of Tikrit.

Over the last two weeks, ISIS forces have expelled the Christian community from Mosul, which has been home to Christians for more than 1,600 years, demanding that they either convert, flee or face execution. Over 1,000 Christians have reportedly fled the city.

Crucially as far as the major powers are concerned, ISIS has captured much of the region’s strategic oil industry. It is also seizing large amounts of US weaponry abandoned in the country after the withdrawal from Iraq three years ago, including 1,500 Humvees, 4,000 PKC machineguns, and 52 M198 155-millimeter howitzers. This heavy artillery gives them the capability to bombard Iraqi cities, including potentially Baghdad, threatening Western commercial interests.

The fact remains, however, that the US, the major European powers, and their regional allies all previously lent financial, military and political support to ISIS and similar groups, which have “Made in the USA” stamped all over them. They have, until now, played a significant part in Washington’s efforts to overthrow the regime of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria, as part of a broader effort to gain control of the region’s vast energy resources and transit routes.

ISIS is distinguished by its religious fanaticism, commitment to capitalism, and virulent anti-communism. Like the Taliban in Afghanistan and similar groups in Somalia, Nigeria and elsewhere, it uses terror to put pressure on the imperialist powers and force them to make some accommodation with it as a regional power centre.

Such outfits have been able to garner some measure of support by exploiting the deeply rooted social discontent of broad layers of the population in the Middle East, largely as a result of the failure of the secular nationalist regimes and parties to improve the social and economic conditions or achieve any meaningful independence from imperialism.

ISIS is an offshoot of Al Qaeda, the terrorist Islamic group previously headed by Osama bin Laden, the son of the wealthy owner of a construction company with close links to the House of Saud. Al Qaeda was formed in the late 1980s in Afghanistan with support from the CIA, which backed the mujahedin as part of its covert war that began in 1979 against the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul.

Over a ten-year period, the US gave the mujahedin around $5 billion in weaponry and aid to recruit and train local forces. Saudi Arabia and Pakistan promoted the mujahedin, encouraging volunteers from the Arab and Islamic countries, such as bin Laden.

Al Qaeda was by no means the only Islamic fundamentalist group supported by Washington and its allies in a struggle for geopolitical influence against regimes and movements allied to Russia. Israel fostered Hamas, the offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, as a counterweight to Yasser Arafat’s Palestine Liberation Organisation.

ISIS, formed in 2004, later incorporated a number of Sunni insurgent factions in Iraq. It was responsible for three terrorist bombings of hotels in Amman, Jordan in 2005, but remained a small group until the demonstrations that began in Dera’a in southern Syria in March 2011.

The Western powers, flush with success after organising an Islamist insurgency in Benghazi in order to justify NATO’s overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, thought they could use similar forces to overthrow Assad in Syria, whose regime draws its main base of support from the Alawite sect, a Shi’a offshoot, and Sunni businessmen.

For three years, the US, along with the Gulf states and Turkey, poured billions into “opposition” groups, supposedly to unnamed “moderates,” but in reality to Al Qaeda-linked Sunni groups such as al-Nusra and ISIS to spearhead a sectarian war. The US, Turkey and Jordan have operated a base in Jordan where US instructors trained dozens of ISIS members. In an article last year, the New York Times confirmed that the CIA assisted Arab governments and Turkey by airlifting weaponry to these groups in Jordan and Turkey. The Guardian reported last March that British and French instructors were also involved.

Other ISIS members were trained near Incirlik Air Base near Adana, Turkey, where US forces are based. After completing their training, they went to Syria and later Iraq. Following the overthrow of the Gaddafi regime, the CIA used the US consulate in Benghazi as a transit base for weaponry, Islamist fighters and cash to Syria, until it was attacked on September 11, 2012 by Islamist militias in a “blowback” operation that killed the US ambassador and three consular staffers.

As opposition grew to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s Shi’ite-dominated government, installed by Washington, which has launched a reign of terror against Iraq’s minority Sunni population, the US and Saudi-sponsored civil war in Syria spilled over into Iraq.

ISIS’s seemingly rapid advance must have been well prepared by its allies in the region, Saudi Arabia and Israel. Israel carries out constant surveillance of Syria from the Golan Heights, from where it has launched attacks on Syria, and provided intelligence information and a field hospital for the “rebels.” Israeli figures, including former Israeli ambassador to Washington Michael Oren and Amos Gilad, director of the Defence Ministry’s policy and political-military relations department, have spoken openly of Tel Aviv’s working relations with the Saudis.

Shalom Yerushalmi, writing in the Israeli daily Maariv last March, claimed that Saudi Arabia was not just coordinating its intelligence efforts with Tel Aviv, but actually financing much of Israel’s campaign against Iran, possibly as much a $1 billion, including its assassinations and development of computer viruses.

It is likely that Washington knew in advance of the ISIS offensive, given its stationing of Patriot missiles and the CIA’s monitoring operations near the Turkish-Syrian border. It was widely reported last March that after the recapture of areas in western Syria by regime forces, ISIS and al-Nusra had withdrawn to their bases in the east, near the border with Iraq. But if the ISIS advance was unknown to the US, it means that its allies are working behind its back.

While Riyadh has now sought to distance itself from ISIS, outlawing the group, it is unlikely that it has stopped all funding. It is determined to ensure a Sunni buffer between itself and Iran and a government in Baghdad that is not beholden to Tehran, while working with Tel Aviv to ensure that Washington does not collaborate with Iran to suppress the Sunni insurgency.

Washington is now riven with dissent as to how to proceed. In Syria, it is backing the very forces it opposes in Iraq. Meanwhile, it has sent forces to protect its embassy and 5,000 staff and subcontractors in Baghdad, and is preparing the ground for new military ventures, using the threat from ISIS as a pretext.

Pakistani, tortured in Iraq, sues British government


This rock music video from Brazil is called Torture Squad – Holiday in Abu Ghraib (Official Music Video HD). Lyrics are here.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

MoD and Foreign Office sued by Pakistani citizen in Iraq torture case

Yunus Rahmatullah accuses UK of complicity in torture and abuse after his capture by British special forces in Iraq in 2004

Richard Norton-Taylor

Tuesday 29 July 2014 09.56 BST

A Pakistani citizen is suing the Ministry of Defence and Foreign Office, accusing them of responsibility for his subjection to torture and severe abuse over 10 years.

Yunus Rahmatullah was captured by British special forces in Iraq in 2004 and handed over to US troops soon afterwards. The incident was initially kept secret from ministers and only disclosed to MPs five years later, in 2009. Rahmatullah, now 31, was released by the US without charge in May.

He is believed to have been first held at Camp Nama, a secret detention facility at Baghdad airport that British troops helped to run. He was later transferred to Iraq’s notorious Abu Ghraib jail before being rendered to the Bagram “black prison” in Afghanistan.

The court of appeal ruled in 2011 that Rahmatullah was unlawfully detained and ordered a writ of habeas corpus – the ancient British legal right to be charged or released from arbitrary detention – to be issued.

However, lawyers acting for the government later successfully argued in the supreme court that British ministers had no power “to direct the US” to release Rahmatullah from Bagram.

He describes in detail his torture and abuse in a 60-page document drawn up by his lawyers and seen by the Guardian. He says when he was captured by British special forces in Iraq in early 2004 he was beaten unconscious. Soldiers cut his clothes with a pair of scissors until, he says, he was “completely naked”.

His lawyers’ statement of claim describes how a soldier poured water on to Rahmatullah’s face after placing a cloth over his mouth and nose causing “a sensation of drowning”.

He was shackled and hooded, and lapsed in and out of consciousness as he was beaten and thrown against a wall. He was suspended upside down and “repeatedly dunked into a tank of water”, says the court document.

At one point, he was taken to a room “where he was horrified to see six or seven naked detainees piled on top of each other”, according to the court statement. He was thrown on top of the detainees and kept in the room for more than two days.

Despite an agreement signed by Britain and the US that specifically referred to the rights of prisoners of war and detained civilians enshrined in the Geneva conventions and international humanitarian law, Rahmatullah was handed over to US forces who secretly took him to Afghanistan. His entire body, including his eyes and mouth, were “taped tightly with duct tape”, the court document says. He was locked in a solitary cell with rats and cockroaches. With other Bagram detainees, he was exposed to daylight in 2006, for the first time in two and half years.

After going on hunger strike, he was subjected to force-feeding on six separate occasions. Apart from limited communication with International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) representatives, he had no contact with the outside world, including his family, until 2010.

British officials, their “servants and agents”, were “recklessly indifferent to the illegality of their actions”, Rahmatullah’s lawyers have told the high court.

Kat Craig, legal director at the human rights group Reprieve, who has recently visited Rahmatullah, said he had been “through 10 years of frankly unimaginable horror”.

She added: “Now that he has finally been able to speak freely to his lawyers, there is no longer any doubt that the British government bears responsibility for his torture and illegal rendition to Bagram.”

Craig continued: “Yunus was robbed of 10 years in the prime of his life; a time when he wanted to find a career, choose a partner and build a family.

“The government must now come clean about the full extent of British involvement in this disgraceful episode in our history – only then will Yunus be able to move on and try to rebuild his life.”

Reprieve legal directors says there is ‘no doubt’ of British responsibility for torture and rendition of Yunus Rahmatullah: here.

Saudi, Bahraini Isis fighters in Iraq, Syria


This video says about itself:

Al Jazeera Journalist Explains Resignation over Syria and Bahrain Coverage

19 March 2012

Ali Hashem: Al Jazeera [with links to the regime of Qatar] has become a “media war machine” and is “committing journalistic suicide”.

From Gulf Daily News (Bahrain; pro-regime):

5,500 Gulf citizens fighting with ISIS

By Raji Unnikrishnan

Monday, July 14, 2014

ESTIMATES suggest up to 5,500 Gulf nationals are fighting with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), according to a UAE-based expert.

Around 4,000 of them are thought to be from Saudi Arabia, while the rest are believed to be from other GCC countries.

However, Dubai-based Near East and Gulf Military Analysis (INEGMA) research and development director Dr Theodore Karasik said he expected those figures to grow in the coming months.

“Of the GCC states, Saudi Arabia has the highest amount of nationals in ISIS – perhaps up to 4,000 fighters,” he told the GDN yesterday.

“The rest of the GCC states have much lower numbers, between 1,000 and 1,500.

“Those numbers are likely to grow in the coming months given the announcement (by ISIS) of the Caliphate and successes on the ground.

“Young people, who are being termed ‘third generation Jihadis’, are willing to join this gang of religious fighters.” …

The GDN reported yesterday that Bahraini cleric Shaikh Turki Al Ban’ali had allegedly been photographed giving a sermon for ISIS supporters in Mosul, Iraq.

Dr Karasik claimed Al Ban’ali was actually serving in the ISIS “government” as a religious leader and mufti – a Muslim legal expert empowered to give rulings on religious matters – along with Saudi nationals Omar Al Qahtani (aka Abu Bakr) and Osman Al Nazeh Al Asiri.

He said the three clerics had previously been in Syria, where Sunni rebels are waging a bloody civil war against the Shi’ite government of President Bashar Al Assad.

Recruitment

“As Shariat leaders, these three are responsible for religious discourse as well as aspects of recruiting,” claimed Dr Karasik.

Bahrain welcomes ISIS: here.

Obama has few good options in Iraq — but the worst choice would be emulating George W. Bush: here.

Saudi government help for Isis extremists in Iraq


This video from the USA is called Willful Deceit: Michael Moore Speaks Out on The Iraq War Anniversary, Bush Crimes.

It says about itself:

24 March 2013

Bush Perverted, Distorted and Tarnished America’s Image Beyond Repair.

This video from the USA is called Bandar Bush. About Saudi royal and secret police boss Prince Bandar, nicknamed ‘Bandar Bush’ because of his close relationship to the Bush dynasty in the USA.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

World View: A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany

Patrick Cockburn

Sunday 13 July 2014

How far is Saudi Arabia complicit in the Isis takeover of much of northern Iraq, and is it stoking an escalating Sunni-Shia conflict across the Islamic world? Some time before 9/11, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, once the powerful Saudi ambassador in Washington and head of Saudi intelligence until a few months ago, had a revealing and ominous conversation with the head of the British Secret Intelligence Service, MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove. Prince Bandar told him: “The time is not far off in the Middle East, Richard, when it will be literally ‘God help the Shia’. More than a billion Sunnis have simply had enough of them.”

The fatal moment predicted by Prince Bandar may now have come for many Shia, with Saudi Arabia playing an important role in bringing it about by supporting the anti-Shia jihad in Iraq and Syria. Since the capture of Mosul by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis) on 10 June, Shia women and children have been killed in villages south of Kirkuk, and Shia air force cadets machine-gunned and buried in mass graves near Tikrit.

In Mosul, Shia shrines and mosques have been blown up, and in the nearby Shia Turkoman city of Tal Afar 4,000 houses have been taken over by Isis fighters as “spoils of war”. Simply to be identified as Shia or a related sect, such as the Alawites, in Sunni rebel-held parts of Iraq and Syria today, has become as dangerous as being a Jew was in Nazi-controlled parts of Europe in 1940.

There is no doubt about the accuracy of the quote by Prince Bandar, secretary-general of the Saudi National Security Council from 2005 and head of General Intelligence between 2012 and 2014, the crucial two years when al-Qa’ida-type jihadis took over the Sunni-armed opposition in Iraq and Syria. Speaking at the Royal United Services Institute last week, Dearlove, who headed MI6 from 1999 to 2004, emphasised the significance of Prince Bandar’s words, saying that they constituted “a chilling comment that I remember very well indeed”.

He does not doubt that substantial and sustained funding from private donors in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, to which the authorities may have turned a blind eye, has played a central role in the Isis surge into Sunni areas of Iraq. He said: “Such things simply do not happen spontaneously.” This sounds realistic since the tribal and communal leadership in Sunni majority provinces is much beholden to Saudi and Gulf paymasters, and would be unlikely to cooperate with Isis without their consent.

Dearlove’s explosive revelation about the prediction of a day of reckoning for the Shia by Prince Bandar, and the former head of MI6’s view that Saudi Arabia is involved in the Isis-led Sunni rebellion, has attracted surprisingly little attention. Coverage of Dearlove’s speech focused instead on his main theme that the threat from Isis to the West is being exaggerated because, unlike Bin Laden’s al-Qa’ida, it is absorbed in a new conflict that “is essentially Muslim on Muslim”. Unfortunately, Christians in areas captured by Isis are finding this is not true, as their churches are desecrated and they are forced to flee. A difference between al-Qa’ida and Isis is that the latter is much better organised; if it does attack Western targets the results are likely to be devastating.

The forecast by Prince Bandar, who was at the heart of Saudi security policy for more than three decades, that the 100 million Shia in the Middle East face disaster at the hands of the Sunni majority, will convince many Shia that they are the victims of a Saudi-led campaign to crush them. “The Shia in general are getting very frightened after what happened in northern Iraq,” said an Iraqi commentator, who did not want his name published. Shia see the threat as not only military but stemming from the expanded influence over mainstream Sunni Islam of Wahhabism, the puritanical and intolerant version of Islam espoused by Saudi Arabia that condemns Shia and other Islamic sects as non-Muslim apostates and polytheists.

Dearlove says that he has no inside knowledge obtained since he retired as head of MI6 10 years ago to become Master of Pembroke College in Cambridge. But, drawing on past experience, he sees Saudi strategic thinking as being shaped by two deep-seated beliefs or attitudes. First, they are convinced that there “can be no legitimate or admissible challenge to the Islamic purity of their Wahhabi credentials as guardians of Islam’s holiest shrines”. But, perhaps more significantly given the deepening Sunni-Shia confrontation, the Saudi belief that they possess a monopoly of Islamic truth leads them to be “deeply attracted towards any militancy which can effectively challenge Shia-dom”.

Western governments traditionally play down the connection between Saudi Arabia and its Wahhabist faith, on the one hand, and jihadism, whether of the variety espoused by Osama bin Laden and al-Qa’ida or by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s Isis. There is nothing conspiratorial or secret about these links: 15 out of 19 of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudis, as was Bin Laden and most of the private donors who funded the operation.

The difference between al-Qa’ida and Isis can be overstated: when Bin Laden was killed by United States forces in 2011, al-Baghdadi released a statement eulogising him, and Isis pledged to launch 100 attacks in revenge for his death.

But there has always been a second theme to Saudi policy towards al-Qa’ida type jihadis, contradicting Prince Bandar’s approach and seeing jihadis as a mortal threat to the Kingdom. Dearlove illustrates this attitude by relating how, soon after 9/11, he visited the Saudi capital Riyadh with Tony Blair.

He remembers the then head of Saudi General Intelligence “literally shouting at me across his office: ‘9/11 is a mere pinprick on the West. In the medium term, it is nothing more than a series of personal tragedies. What these terrorists want is to destroy the House of Saud and remake the Middle East.'” In the event, Saudi Arabia adopted both policies, encouraging the jihadis as a useful tool of Saudi anti-Shia influence abroad but suppressing them at home as a threat to the status quo. It is this dual policy that has fallen apart over the last year.

Saudi sympathy for anti-Shia “militancy” is identified in leaked US official documents. The then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wrote in December 2009 in a cable released by Wikileaks that “Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for al-Qa’ida, the Taliban, LeT [Lashkar-e-Taiba in Pakistan] and other terrorist groups.” She said that, in so far as Saudi Arabia did act against al-Qa’ida, it was as a domestic threat and not because of its activities abroad. This policy may now be changing with the dismissal of Prince Bandar as head of intelligence this year. But the change is very recent, still ambivalent and may be too late: it was only last week that a Saudi prince said he would no longer fund a satellite television station notorious for its anti-Shia bias based in Egypt.

The problem for the Saudis is that their attempts since Bandar lost his job to create an anti-Maliki and anti-Assad Sunni constituency which is simultaneously against al-Qa’ida and its clones have failed.

By seeking to weaken Maliki and Assad in the interest of a more moderate Sunni faction, Saudi Arabia and its allies are in practice playing into the hands of Isis which is swiftly gaining full control of the Sunni opposition in Syria and Iraq. In Mosul, as happened previously in its Syrian capital Raqqa, potential critics and opponents are disarmed, forced to swear allegiance to the new caliphate and killed if they resist.

The West may have to pay a price for its alliance with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf monarchies, which have always found Sunni jihadism more attractive than democracy. A striking example of double standards by the western powers was the Saudi-backed suppression of peaceful democratic protests by the Shia majority in Bahrain in March 2011. Some 1,500 Saudi troops were sent across the causeway to the island kingdom as the demonstrations were ended with great brutality and Shia mosques and shrines were destroyed.

An alibi used by the US and Britain is that the Sunni al-Khalifa royal family in Bahrain is pursuing dialogue and reform. But this excuse looked thin last week as Bahrain expelled a top US diplomat, the assistant secretary of state for human rights Tom Malinowksi, for meeting leaders of the main Shia opposition party al-Wifaq. Mr Malinowski tweeted that the Bahrain government’s action was “not about me but about undermining dialogue”.

Western powers and their regional allies have largely escaped criticism for their role in reigniting the war in Iraq. Publicly and privately, they have blamed the Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for persecuting and marginalising the Sunni minority, so provoking them into supporting the Isis-led revolt. There is much truth in this, but it is by no means the whole story. Maliki did enough to enrage the Sunni, partly because he wanted to frighten Shia voters into supporting him in the 30 April election by claiming to be the Shia community’s protector against Sunni counter-revolution.

But for all his gargantuan mistakes, Maliki’s failings are not the reason why the Iraqi state is disintegrating. What destabilised Iraq from 2011 on was the revolt of the Sunni in Syria and the takeover of that revolt by jihadis, who were often sponsored by donors in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and United Arab Emirates. Again and again Iraqi politicians warned that by not seeking to close down the civil war in Syria, Western leaders were making it inevitable that the conflict in Iraq would restart. “I guess they just didn’t believe us and were fixated on getting rid of [President Bashar al-] Assad,” said an Iraqi leader in Baghdad last week.

Of course, US and British politicians and diplomats would argue that they were in no position to bring an end to the Syrian conflict. But this is misleading. By insisting that peace negotiations must be about the departure of Assad from power, something that was never going to happen since Assad held most of the cities in the country and his troops were advancing, the US and Britain made sure the war would continue.

The chief beneficiary is Isis which over the last two weeks has been mopping up the last opposition to its rule in eastern Syria. The Kurds in the north and the official al-Qa’ida representative, Jabhat al-Nusra, are faltering under the impact of Isis forces high in morale and using tanks and artillery captured from the Iraqi army. It is also, without the rest of the world taking notice, taking over many of the Syrian oil wells that it did not already control.

Saudi Arabia has created a Frankenstein’s monster over which it is rapidly losing control. The same is true of its allies such as Turkey which has been a vital back-base for Isis and Jabhat al-Nusra by keeping the 510-mile-long Turkish-Syrian border open. As Kurdish-held border crossings fall to Isis, Turkey will find it has a new neighbour of extraordinary violence, and one deeply ungrateful for past favours from the Turkish intelligence service.

As for Saudi Arabia, it may come to regret its support for the Sunni revolts in Syria and Iraq as jihadi social media begins to speak of the House of Saud as its next target. It is the unnamed head of Saudi General Intelligence quoted by Dearlove after 9/11 who is turning out to have analysed the potential threat to Saudi Arabia correctly and not Prince Bandar, which may explain why the latter was sacked earlier this year.

Nor is this the only point on which Prince Bandar was dangerously mistaken. The rise of Isis is bad news for the Shia of Iraq but it is worse news for the Sunni whose leadership has been ceded to a pathologically bloodthirsty and intolerant movement, a sort of Islamic Khmer Rouge, which has no aim but war without end.

The Sunni caliphate rules a large, impoverished and isolated area from which people are fleeing. Several million Sunni in and around Baghdad are vulnerable to attack and 255 Sunni prisoners have already been massacred. In the long term, Isis cannot win, but its mix of fanaticism and good organisation makes it difficult to dislodge.

“God help the Shia,” said Prince Bandar, but, partly thanks to him, the shattered Sunni communities of Iraq and Syria may need divine help even more than the Shia.

British Muslims condemn Isis


This video from Britain says about itself:

We didn’t stop the Iraq war, so was 15 February 2003 pointless?

15 February 2013

Four people, including novelist Ian McEwan, remember the biggest protest in British history, when two million people marched in London to stop Tony Blair taking Britain into an illegal war against Iraq. The marchers in London, and many millions more around the world who marched on 15 February, did not stop the war. So what was achieved by protests?

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Britain’s Muslim leaders condemn Isis

Saturday 12th July 2012

MUSLIM leaders in Britain have condemned the extremist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis), expressing their “grave concern” at continued violence in its name.

Representatives from both the Sunni and Shia groups in Britain relayed their message that the militant group did not represent the majority of Muslims.

Shuja Shafi, of the Muslim Council of Great Britain, said: “Violence has no place in religion, violence has no religion.

“It is prohibited for people to present themselves for destruction.”

An open letter signed by more than 100 imams from across major theological backgrounds and cultural groups urged British Muslims not to travel to the war-torn regions.

The letter called on communities “to continue the generous and tireless effort to support all of those affected by the crisis in Syria and unfolding events in Iraq,” but to do so “from the UK in a safe and responsible way.”

Justin Welby warns of hysteria over threat of Muslim radicalisation. Archbishop of Canterbury says number of young people travelling to Syria is ‘extraordinarily small': here.