A schoolgirl from Tower Hamlets has been removed from her parents care after a High Court judge ruled that she was in danger from emotional and psychological harm due to terrorist propaganda.
The girl, who can only be referred to as B for legal purposes, attempted to travel to Syria to join Islamic State as a jihadi bride last year in December, but she was removed from the flight to Turkey minutes before it was scheduled to take off when her parents reported her missing, after B’s brother alerted them of her plan.
At the time, her parents co-operated with the police and social workers to stop their children accessing terrorist propaganda, but in June this year counter-terrorism officers carried out a search of the family home and discovered a ‘plethora of electronic devices’ containing Islamic State material.
Of the case, the judge, Mr Justice Hayden said: “I do not recall seeing deception which is so consummately skilful as has been the case here. I can see no way in which her psychological, emotional and intellectual integrity can be protected by her remaining in this household. The farrago of sophisticated dishonesty of the parents makes this entirely unsustainable.”
The material seized by the counter-terrorism officers included pictures of beheadings, as well as information of a practical nature. Judge Hayden said: “It involves information designed to support and to perpetrate terrorist attacks. It provides advice as to how to avoid airport security, particularly for females.”
Judge Hayden also drew parallels between this case and sex abuse cases stating that ‘it is every bit insidious’. He said: “The violation contemplated here is not of the body but it is of the mind. I do not say that lightly – as it involves harm of a similar magnitude.”
B, who was home taught, had recently ‘amassed an array of A and A*’ GCSE results and the judge described the case as ‘a tragedy for a promising young woman’.
The local authority also sought the removal of all the male children of the family, on the basis that the emotional safety of the boys cannot be assured. However, the judge instead ordered that a thorough assessment be carried out as, among other things, no radicalising material had been found on their devices.
The judge added: “This case comes before me consecutively with a number of other cases within the Borough of Tower Hamlets, each of which involves intelligent young girls, highly motivated academically, each of whom has, to some and greatly varying degrees, been either radicalised or exposed to extreme ideology promulgated by those subscribing to the values of the self-styled Islamic State.”