Khadijah Kamara’s pain was visible to see. She had lost her son in Syria. The young man from Brighton had been brainwashed by radicalisers, ending up in the line of fire with Jabhat al-Nusra, an affiliate of Al Qaeda.
Ibrahim Kamara was just 19 years old.As with other grieving mothers, Khadijah found out about the death of her son through social media. The Facebook update included a picture of his face in an unzipped body bag lying in the desert. That was the grim fate of a teenager who, as his mother put it, had fallen in with the “wrong people”.
Khadijah Kamara said last week: “I didn’t know how to deal with it. I couldn’t imagine a member of my family could even think about this kind of thing.”
I’ve talked to other mothers of sons who have been radicalised by extremists. Often troubled youngsters looking for an identity, a purpose in life. They’re preyed on by extremists who give them easy solutions and a path to false glory. In the case of Ibrahim Kamara and others his age, the path has led instead to a short life and the broken hearts of those families members left behind. Many who, even years after the loss of their child, are still searching for answers to their hundreds of questions.
Our campaign #MakingAStand launched last week and aims to drive a wedge between the radicalisers and their targets. We’re going to bring communities closer together to stop more deaths like that of Ibrahim Kamara. Our children and brothers and sisters are not battle fodder for Al Qaeda or the Islamic State. They have productive and fruitful lives ahead of them.
Unfortunately, we’ll hear of more young British lives being lost in Syria and Iraq. Ibrahim Kamara was not the first and he certainly won’t be the last. We must stem the flow of recruits to the killing grounds of Syria and Iraq because these young people could have had a completely different life.
That’s why it is imperative that as Muslim women we must make a stand and take the lead in challenging extremism. Join us and show your support by tweeting using the #MakingAStand hashtag and find out more on the website. Together, we can make a difference for our children, our families and ultimately, our communities.