The son of Britain’s most notorious hate preacher has been stripped of his UK passport after travelling to Syria to fight with jihadists.
The Home Office took the highly unusual step of withdrawing the passport of the youngest son of the “hook-handed” cleric Abu Hamza, leaving him effectively stateless and stranded in the civil war.
Sufiyan Mustafa, 22, whose father is in jail in the US after being convicted of a series of terrorism charges, has complained in an interview with an Arabic newspaper of his plight. He has pleaded for the option of coming back to his home in London.
Mustafa is fighting alongside rebel units after fleeing Britain in 2013 following the extradition of his father to America to stand trial. He denies fighting with Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant or with forces loyal to al-Qaeda, although sources say the decision to
revoke his passport was “not taken lightly”. It is unclear for which rebel group Mustafa is fighting.
In his interview with al-Quds, the Arabic newspaper, Mustafa spoke of his irritation at being accused by the Government of being a terrorist. He also told of his “surprise” at his passport being revoked.
He said he would return to Britain when the regime of President Bashar al-Assad has fallen and the fighting has stopped.
He also questioned the Home Office decision, insisting he was fighting with a moderate group which was supported with British and American weapons.
He said: “Britain is the place where I was born and lived. I have never been a threat to national security in Britain and will not commit aggression on its population because our religion does not allow attacks on unarmed innocents.”
Mustafa admitted his father, a 59-year-old cleric jailed for life after a trial in New York in 2015, had made mistakes, but added by way of explanation: “Who hasn’t when they believe in a cause?” Mustafa said he had taken part in battles in Aleppo and on his Twitter feed he has written about the killing of regime forces.
He said: “I am a believer that the real battle will be after the fall of the regime, in the construction of Syria again and reform of the political and economic affairs and construction of public schools to study.
“The victory of the revolution will be when we see the people elect a representative government and take the country to a better future than it was.”
Last month Mustafa appeared in a jihadist propaganda video in which he both denounced Assad but also criticised Isil for giving Islam a bad name.
He is one of an estimated 400 British jihadists fighting in Syria and Iraq for groups ranging from the moderate rebels to the extremists of Isil.
Abu Hamza, who rose to notoriety after becoming imam of the Finsbury Park mosque, in north London, in 1997, has been serving his sentence in solitary confinement at a high-security prison in Florence, Colorado.
He was extradited to the US five years ago after the British government spent a decade trying to kick him out of the country.
Theresa May, who was home secretary at the time, encouraged the use of powers to deprive individuals of their citizenship on terrorism-related grounds.
According to The Bureau of Investigative Journalism figures published last year, Mrs May had used the powers in relation to 33 people. The Home Office declined to comment.