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  1. ITV Report

Parents of Scottish 'jihadist' deny she recruited schoolgirls

Video report by ITV News' Debi Edward

The parents of a Scottish woman who fled to join Islamic State two years ago have denied that she was involved in recruiting three missing schoolgirls believed to have travelled to Syria.

Aqsa Mahmood, 20, left her home in Glasgow in November 2013 and married an IS militant shortly after.

Today her parents told ITV News she had been in contact to deny recent reports that she had encouraged Bethnal Green students Shamima Begum, 15, Kadiza Sultana, 16 and Amira Abase, 15, to flee and join the radical Islamist group.

Muzaffar Mahmood said his daughter had claimed she didn't even know the girls' names.

He told Debi Edward: "She even text me when this was going on. She [said she] was never in contact with them, and I believe her.

"The press keeps [saying] everything that's happening is Aqsa Mahmood."

Mahmood was accused of radicalising missing schoolgirls Kadiza Sultana, Shamima Begum and Amira Abase (clockwise from top left).

He criticised British police for not doing more to "save our daughter" when she made the journey initially.

The family say they handed information to the authorities within less than a week of her disappearance, but claim police had made no contact with authorities in Turkey at all regarding her subsequent journey through the country to Syria.

Aqsa's mother Khalida added that she had given police her daughter's phone number shortly after she went missing, in what she believes was a missed opportunity.

Aqsa Mahmood left for Syria in November 2013.

Mr Mahmood also pointed the finger at intelligence services for failing to discover who was "radicalising our children", and claimed he and his wife had simply given their daughter freedoms afforded in any "normal" family.

"We are just normal parents... we want to give them freedom - they can pray, they can go out - just like other parents do," Muzaffar Mahmood said.