EAST Lancashire families have been urged to tell security authorities of relatives fighting in Iraq and Syria as Islamist group ISIS continues to make ground in the two countries.
This week it was reported that as many as 500 Britons were now involved, and a Jihadist recruitment video featured several Britons, including two from Cardiff and one from Aberdeen.
Blackburn MP Jack Straw and his Burnley counterpart Gordon Birtwistle said parents, brothers and sisters should inform the police and security services about relatives fighting in the conflict, thinking of doing so or returning from the war zone.
They were backed by Lancashire Council of Mosques chairman Abdul Hamid Qureshi who appealed to young Muslims: “Just don’t go.”
A Lancashire police spokesman backed counter-terrorism detective Sue South- ern in urging relatives of Britons planning to take up arms to report them to the authorities.
Mr Qureshi said: “We urged young people seeking to help in Syria not to get involved in fighting. It is just not safe.
“We are not aware of anyone going to do so but our advice is just don’t go.
“If anyone knows of anyone thinking of going they should tell the authorities.”
Mr Straw said: “Getting involved in the fighting is dangerous and could be an offence.
“Families must tell the police and authorities of anyone who is thinking of going, has gone or is returning from the area after doing so.”
Mr Birtwistle said: “It is a family responsibility to tell authorities about people going there.
“We have a very settled and productive Muslim community here is East Lancashire and we do not want that destabilised or terrorism coming here from Syria or Iraq.”
The Lancashire police spokesman said: “We would advise people against travelling to Syria and Iraq. It is simply not safe. Anyone involved in fighting in Syria and Iraq could be prosecuted on return to the UK. We want to prevent anyone from becoming involved in fighting or terrorist related activity and would urge communities to work with us to support this effort and to ensure that their family members are protected.
“We would urge anyone who is worried about relatives or friends travelling to Syria who may be drawn into the conflict to get in touch with us.”