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British court orders schoolgirl to surrender passport over fears of joining ISIS

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London: A 16-year-old schoolgirl in the UK, a student of the same school from where three Bangladeshi-origin girls fled to join the Islamic State, has been ordered to surrender her passport over fears that she may also attempt to flee to Syria to join the dreaded militant group.

The teenager is from the same east London school, Bethnal Green Academy, which hit the headlines when three of its students fled to Syria earlier this year and are now believed to have become “jihadi brides” in ISIS -held territory.

The High Court judge, Justice Hayden, made the ruling after speaking privately to the girl and also being told in court that she may have been “intimately involved” in details of one of the girls who made the journey earlier this year.

The girl’s sisters have also been ordered to surrender passports to the tipstaff, an officer of the court, and only returned for approved trips abroad. Hayden acknowledged the “intrusion” posed to the lives of her sisters by having to surrender their passports, but said: “Where that is a measure taken to secure the safety of their sister, it seems to me to be one relatively minor consequence.”

“This strikes me as a very minor infringement into their family life in order to prevent the possibility of a very grave ill. We are seeking to protect from a risk of very great magnitude, for we know that those who travel to ISIS to participate in jihad risk their own lives,” said Hayden.

An order was passed to protect the identity of the 16-year-old, described by Hayden as “impressive and intelligent”, until she is 18, to allow her to complete her education and finish her childhood in peace.
The judge described how the teenager has become one of the first girls to be made a ward of court after evidence from the local council and counter-terror police “concerning vulnerable children who might have been subjected to radical influences”.

Four girls from Bethnal Green Academy in east London have travelled to Syria. The first girl to travel went in December 2014, while Kadiza Sultana, Amira Abase and Shamima Begum left the UK together in February.

PTI