British Twins On The Run To Syria Were ‘Religiously Groomed’ Fears Muslim Women’s Rights Group

Salma and Zahra Halane, who disappeared from their Manchester home in the middle of the night two weeks ago, have 28 GCSEs between them…


by Sophie Wilkinson |
Published on

Following the revelation of the identities of twin 16-year-old British girls who disappeared from their family home in the middle of the night two weeks ago to travel to Syria to join the jihadist cause, it has been suggested that they have been ensnared by 'religious grooming'.

Salma and Zahra Halane, who have 28 GCSEs between them, sneaked away from their Manchester home in the middle of the night to join their brother in Syria two weeks ago. They have since called their parents to say 'we're not coming back' and it's presumed that they're going to Syria to join their brother as jihadists for ISIS. However, their parents fear they're not signing up to fight, but to become 'jihadi brides'.

Tony Mole, detective chief superintendent of the North West Counter Terrorism Unit said: 'First, I want to stress that the welfare of these two teenagers is our overarching priority. Two 16-year-old girls left the UK on 26 June and we believe that they have since entered Syria.

'At this stage, we don't know for sure why they are there, or exactly who they are with. They are clearly posing a threat to themselves and potentially the community and their family and friends are concerned for their wellbeing.

'It is also important that we thank the community for their assistance in this matter while reminding them and the wider media that the family remain very concerned for the safety of their daughters'.

Sources believe that they, like their brother, who has been fighting in Syria for a year, were radicalised via internet forums where they spoke with other like-minded teenagers, according to the Daily Mail.

Mussurut Zia, general secretary of the Muslim Women's Network UK, claims the pair have been deliberately pursued and 'groomed' by jihadists, who give off the false impression that a jihadi bride is allowed in Islam. 'The concept has probably been sold to the girls by people they may be in touch with through the process of recruiting. It may be they feel this is their personal role is this situation in Syria.'

‘I see this as religious grooming. Because the girls are so young, I doubt they will be able to make these decisions for themselves. They are going to be in awe of these people who are out there. They are probably older, they have the language, the rhetoric.’

The search for the girls continues.

Follow Sophie on Twitter @sophwilkinson

Picture: Getty

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us