Attractive men are used as ‘eye candy’ to lure young British Muslim girls into adopting extremist ideology, a former woman extremist has claimed.
The girl named as Ayesha, a false name to protect her identity, told the BBC that she was taught to see Britain as “our enemy” but now rejects that ideology.
She was speaking in reference to three London schoolgirls who recently left the UK, apparently to join Islamic State (IS) militants in Syria.
Ayesha told the BBC’s ‘Newsnight’ programme: “As a teenager I wanted to get my piece of eye candy and I’d take a good look, and all the YouTube videos, for some reason, they [the militants] were all really, really attractive.
“It was glamorous in the sense it was like ‘oh wow, I can get someone who practises the same religion as me, who’s not necessarily from my ethnicity and that’s exciting’.”
Ayesha, from the Midlands region of England, is now in her early 20s and said she was first contacted by extremists when she was a student aged 16 or 17.
She said a man sent her a Facebook message saying she was “very attractive” and telling her: “Now’s the time to cover that beauty because you’re so precious.”
Senior British police officers revealed this week that at least 60 British women and girls have travelled to Syria amid warnings of a campaign by IS to target vulnerable teenagers to become brides for jihadist fighters.
More than a third have been reported missing by their families with most aged 20 or under, said Helen Ball, the senior national coordinator for counter-terrorism.
Senior Indian-origin MP Keith Vaz, chair of the Commons home affairs committee, has called on UK police sent to Turkey to halt the trend.
“Police spotters need to be placed in Istanbul so there can be immediate action taken. This is a destination of great concern,” he said.
Footage released by a Turkish television station showed three girls, believed to be British Muslims Shamima Begum and Amira Abase, both 15, and Kadiza Sultana, 16, walking into a bus station wrapped in warm clothing from snow-covered streets and remaining there for around 18 hours.