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Acland Burghley School: Statement on ex-pupils who joined Islamic State in Syria

PUBLISHED: 15:47 26 November 2015 | UPDATED: 15:56 26 November 2015

Khayerul Miah, pictured, and his brother have joined IS in Syria

Khayerul Miah, pictured, and his brother have joined IS in Syria

Archant

The Camden school where two Islamic State (IS) recruits were pupils has released a statement to parents.

New Acland Burghley headteacher Nicholas JohnNew Acland Burghley headteacher Nicholas John

Acland Burghley School in Tufnell Park will hold a meeting tomorrow at 5pm at the school for parents and carers who may have questions.

It follows the revelation this week that Kentish Town brothers Thahirul Miah, 23, and Khayerul Miah, 21, left the country to fight for IS in Syria earlier this year.

Thahirul Miah was a pupil at the Burghley Road school from 2003 until 2009, while Khayerul Miah was a pupil between 2006 and 2012.

In a letter to parents published on the school’s website, headteacher Nicholas John said: “I can confirm that two young men from Kentish Town who have travelled to Syria to fight with IS were former students of Acland Burghley.”

He continued: “At Acland Burghley School, our first priority is the safeguarding of all students, including following the government’s National Prevent Strategy procedures, which can be found in our safeguarding policy on the school website.”

On Tuesday, Torriano Primary School – where the men’s mother Rana Begum is a nursery teacher – held emergency meetings for parents on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings.

They also released a statement, making clear Ms Begum “completely renounces” her sons’ actions and that she played no part in their radicalisation.

In addition, a letter was sent out to parents and published on the school’s website.

It is understood that some parents at the school in Torriano Avenue, Kentish Town, have sent Ms Begum a letter of condolence.

In the statement, Torriano Primary chair of governors Luca Salice said: “The school immediately followed the agreed procedures for safeguarding children by contacting both the Metropolitan Police and [Camden] Council’s ‘Prevent’ officers, who are responsible for responding to threats of radicalisation.

“The police and Prevent team investigations concluded there was no indication the two young men had been radicalised by their mother and no further action should be taken as she poses no threat to pupils in the school.”

He said the revelation had been a “personal tragedy” for the family of the two men, who lived in Leighton Road.

The brothers’ father Shamshad Miah sits on the executive committee board of the Kentish Town Baitul Aman Mosque in Weedington Road.

The Ham&High approached the mosque for comment but received no response.

There is no suggestion that their father, the mosque or either school played a part in radicalising the brothers.

The family were described as “lovely” by some neighbours on Tuesday.

One resident, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “The mother is a great lady and a fantastic woman.”

Another neighbour said: “She is a wonderful person and her children were well-educated. But there’s nothing you can do about it when your children are grown up.”

Asked if she was shocked at the revelations, she replied: “In London, nothing shocks me anymore.”

The majority of parents are said to be supporting Torriano Primary and Ms Begum at this time.

But others are said to be furious that the school did not tell them anything before the news reached the national press on Tuesday morning.

An anonymous source, who has strong links to the school, said: “Some parents were feeling fine about it but some were angry that parents were not told. People are frightened.

“Apparently, this all happened in July. But the school didn’t say anything.”

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