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British Muslims 'must unify against sectarian violence'

Leading Imams have called on British Muslims to show unification in the face of sectarian fighting in a letter urging readers not to join militant groups in Syria and Iraq.

The open letter stressed "the value of unity and perseverance" among all branches of Muslims in a Ramadan appeal for peace.

As we near the end of the first week of Ramadan our message is simple, we have come together to urge British Muslim communities not to fall prey to any form of sectarian divisions or social discord.Here in the UK we are Sunnis and Shias, brothers in Islam - and brothers in Britain too.

– Qari Mohammed Asim, imam at Leeds Makka Mosque

Muslim leaders: 'Don't join militant fighters'

A gunman loyal to the ISIL militants waves the group's flag in Syria Credit: Reuters

Leading British Muslims have urged British followers of the faith not to join militant fighters in Syria and Iraq.

More than 100 imams signed an open letter urging against travel to join jihadists in the Middle Eastern conflicts, many of whom are accused of carrying out terrorist atrocities.

The letter, timed to coincide with the festival of Ramadan, called for British Muslims to support those affected by the Syrian conflict in a "in a safe and responsible way".

It comes after concerns about an exodus of sympathisers travelling to join jihadists, posing a potential threat to British security if and when they return.


British fighters in Syria 'not planning UK attacks'

A British man fighting with the Syrian rebels against President Assad has told ITV News that he has no intention of coming home to launch attacks against the UK.

He says he is one of an estimated 300 Brits fighting in the civil war that has devastated the country.

Intelligence agencies here fear that the fighters, many of who are just young men, will return to the UK and plan atrocities on British soil, but the fighter, who calls himself Abu Summayah al Britani, said that was not his intention.

He spoke to UK Editor Lucy Manning from an unknown location inside Syria.

British 'fighter not linked to any one group' in Syria

A man who claims to be a British fighter in Syria working with the rebels as they attempt to overthrow President Assad said he is part of an international movement of fighters from all over the world helping the Syrian people, but is "not linked to any one group" of Islamists.

The "fighter", who calls himself Abu Summayah al Britani said:

"There are many, not just British but European from Germany, Sweden, Belgium, Australia all of English speaking, Americans, I bumped into a brother here from Chicago, not just long ago, a few guys from Australia, a few brothers from China, from Malaysia.

"We've come from all over the world. We’ve come from all over the world from different backgrounds, from different nationalities and we have come here to support our brothers and sisters in Syria.

"I am not linked with any group at the moment. I have not pledged my allegiance to any group to Al Qaeda or to ISIS, but I support ISIS with my heart and with my tongue, and with my works".

ISIS are a group of Islamic fighters within Syria who were until recently linked to al-Qaeda. The Syrian National Coalition told ITV News they did not want British fighters to work with Syrian rebels against Assad.

British Jihadi 'in Syria fighting for Islam'

A British man who says he is a fighter in Syria said there were "many reasons" to go and fight with the rebels against the Assad regime, but his main motivation was religious. Speaking on a mobile phone, he told ITV News:

"Well there are many, many reasons for me to come out here and fight...the first reason for me is not to you know to come and help the first reason here is because Allah asked me in the Quran. So for me this is more of an ideological struggle. This is more about Islam for me.

"The second reason I am here, the most prominent reason is to re-establish the Islamic state. A state which is governed by the Islamic sharia, and not by the wills and desires of men.

"The third reason I would say is to be here and to support my Muslim brothers".

British jihadi in Syria 'has no intention' to attack UK

A British man who claims to be fighting for the Syrian rebels told ITV News he has no intention of returning to the UK to launch an attack, though he did understand those fighters who would.

Speaking on a mobile phone from an unknown location inside Syria, a man who calls himself Abu Summayah al Britani told ITV News UK Editor Lucy Manning:

"The Mujahedeen here have no intention of number one going back, and number two attacking any other country.We are in a state of war here, and you know we are in a state of emergency.


Man charged in terrorism inquiry found with document written by leading al-Qaida cleric

The document was written by American-born radical Muslim cleric Anwar al Awlaki, who was killed last year in a drone strike

Mohammed Shabir Ali is accused of possessing a document written by American-born Anwar al Awlaki, who was killed last year in a drone strike after leading al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.