Thomas Evans is dead: British Muslim convert killed in Somalia
Thomas Evans left his home in High Wycombe to fight with al-Shabaab. The Times says he’s dead, killed in Kenya as the Islamists attacked an army base.
His mother Sally told The Sunday Times in 2014:
“I would rather have Thomas alive behind bars than dead in the middle of nowhere, because he wouldn’t just die innocently but die doing something he shouldn’t be doing. And if he took other lives, how do you live with this? If he was a suicide bomber, how would I live with that?”
Thomas became a Muslim at age 19 after breaking up with his girlfriend.
In 2011, he went to learn Arabic in Cairo. Well, so he said. In truth, he made his way to Somalia, to wage holy war, get women who don’t dump him and become a hero.
He called his mum in 2012.
Mrs Evans: “What are you going to do? Are you going to be a suicide bomber?”
Thomas Evans: “If asked, I would, Inshallah [God willing].”
ME: “Will I see you again?”
But she wanted to.
“I wish [the security services] had a magic wand to bring him back,” she said. “I think of their parents and think of how they feel … It’s all about the sons and what they’ve done, but what about the family that they have come from? That is the thing, there is no help for the families.”
And that brings us to another dead British jihadi, Talha Asmal, 17, from Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, who travelled with a friend to Iraq in April. He became a suicide bomber and a murderer when he was part of an Islamic State group that killed 11 people and themselves.
Asmal’s family say their boy was groomed online. The nutjobs preyed on his “innocence and vulnerability”. They say he was a “caring and affable teenager” until others corrupted him. His family say: “If the press reports are accurate he was ordered to his death by so-called Isis handlers and leaders too cowardly to do their own ‘dirty’ work.”
He wasn’t alone. In April Asmal and his neighbour Hassan Munshi, also 17, travelled to eastern Turkey before crossing the Syrian border. Munshi’s brother Hammaad became Britain’s youngest convicted terrorist, was 15 when he was arrested “by counterterrorism police in 2006 and later found guilty over his role in a plot to murder non-Muslims.”
Now, about those mysterious online predators.
Number 10 says the government wanted to work with social media firms to stop young people being targeted…
Another West Yorkshire teenager, Hasib Hussein, was 18 when he blew himself up on a London bus in the 7 July 2005 attacks.
A pupil who attended the same school as Asmal has told the BBC that he believes the sixth former was persuaded to join Islamic State by someone within the community.