Only son joins ISIS leaving liberal Hindu family devastated
The latest propaganda video by so-called Islamic State showing the execution of 5 men accused of spying for the UK has once again put in focus Siddhartha Dhar, the main suspect.
Siddhartha Dhar, comes from a liberal Hindu family. His parents were born in India and moved to the UK as children. It is in the UK that Siddhartha and his two sisters grew up as normal second generation immigrant families would. A fan of Arsenal listening to Linkin Park and Nirvana, Siddhartha was no different, unfortunately only till the death of his father, when Siddhartha was 16. This loss led to his close friendship with Mizanur Rahman, the son of Muslim Bangladeshi immigrants. Slowly, Siddhartha changed the way he dressed, grew a beard and finally converted to Islam adopting the name Saif al-Islam, which means "sword of Islam".
His family remained completely unaware of the double life he led till he was arrested in a pro-Palestinian rally in 2002. To them he was just a regular young man who ran a business renting out bouncy castles in London.
By the time they knew, he had become a complete radical refusing to eat the food his mother cooked, propagating Islam to his family and even claiming that his father was in hell because he had died a non-Muslim.
In 2006, he married a Muslim girl and 2 years later when his son Rumaysah was born took the name of Abu Rumaysah, meaning "father of Rumaysah". He was arrested many times post 2002 but in 2014 his family last heard of his arrest with eight other people as part of an investigation into a banned group named al-Muhajiroun. Without the knowledge of his family, Abu Rumaysah, who was out on bail, took his pregnant wife and four children and fled on a ferry to Calais and then flew from France to Turkey and then crossed over the border into Syria.
He sent his mother a message saying that he was in the Islamic State and was happy. That was the last that his family heard from him.
Since then the family scouts the internet to know of his whereabouts and activities. Each video and photograph, of course, breaking them further – a photograph of him in which he was holding his newborn son in his left arm and wielding a Kalashnikov rifle in his right or a video where he tells the female presenter to cover up and that adulterers should be stoned to death, leaving his family wondering if this is really the Siddhartha they once knew.
The latest video shows five men, wearing jumpsuits and kneeling in a desert location, appear to be shot in the back of the head, after making what is claimed to be their confessions as spies for the UK. The masked man, who is holding a gun, mocks Prime Minister David Cameron for daring to "challenge the might" of the extremist group is suspected to be Siddhartha. The family agrees that the voice of the masked man bears close resemblance to Siddhartha though cannot still believe or accept that he would be involved in murder. They are nothing short of devastated.
According to the British Police at least 700 people from the UK have travelled to support or fight for jihadist organisations in Syria and Iraq. About half have since returned to Britain. Siddhartha Dhar remains in the Islamic State.