The father of a British jihadi jailed for nearly 13 years after travelling to Syria says parents with children who do the same will be “too scared to tell police”.
Mohammed Nahin Ahmed’s father spoke to Sky News exclusively on the condition that neither his name nor face were shown.
His son was sentenced alongside his friend, Yusuf Sarwar, at Woolwich Crown Court last week for terrorism offences.
Childhood friends Sarwar and Ahmed, both 22, were given 12 years eight months in prison each, plus another five years on licence.
Ahmed’s father says his family co-operated with the police and helped persuade the pair to return home to Handsworth in Birmingham.
“We told the police, we went to them for help but we didn’t get any. We surrendered them for justice but the police didn’t help at all.
“If anyone’s children go to Syria now, no one will tell the police because they will be too scared to tell them this.
“My son lives in jail so what did I gain from going to the police? People go to the police for justice and help. No, I wouldn’t go again.”
Ahmed and Sarwar admitted engaging in conduct in preparation of terrorism acts in July.
They became the first Britons to be convicted in the UK of Syria-related terrorism offences.
Upon sentencing the judge said it made no difference that their offences were abroad and described them as “fundamentalists committed to violent extremism”.
Ahmed’s father, however, says his son made a mistake and returned to the UK because he feared for his life.
“No, he is normal. His life was normal. He prayed just the way we do. I think maybe it was the internet that brought those kinds of thoughts to him, the internet brainwashes people these days.
“But going to war without telling us was wrong. Going to war is wrong.”
Both families have said they will appeal against what they see as excessive and unfair sentences.
Ahmed’s father said a similar case a week before saw two brothers from East London jailed for less than half of his son’s sentence.
Mohommod Nawaz and Hamza Nawaz were given four and a half years and three and a half years respectively.
They had admitted conspiracy to attend a terrorism training camp in Syria.
Ahmed’s father said he had communicated with his son in prison recently, who had expected a five or six year jail term.
“I have spoken to him over the phone. He is feeling very bad. He knew that he will be sentenced but he didn’t think it would be this long. If he had known he wouldn’t have come back from Syria.”