The sister of an Indian-origin Islamic State terror suspect dubbed “New Jihadi John” has said she is hoping that the masked man in a recent video of the terror group is not her brother and her family was in the dark about how he was radicalised.
Konika Dhar appeared before a House of Commons Home Affairs Committee hearing on Tuesday over the possibility of her brother Siddhartha Dhar being the masked man who recently appeared in an ISIS propaganda video which showed “British spies” being executed.
“I’m still holding to the firm belief that what I’m seeing is not him – and I haven’t had verification otherwise.
It’s sort of the realisation that ‘is he really my brother that has done this? and I can’t accept that he would ever do that. I can’t accept it,” the London-based law student said.
Siddhartha, 32, a former bouncy castle salesman from London, had changed his name to Abu Rumaysah after converting from Hinduism to Islam.
Speaking to the parliamentary committee, his sister said she and her family were “left in the dark” over how he came to convert about a decade ago and how he adopted his radical views, but feared he had been “brainwashed” by individuals in the community.
In response to a question, she said it would “absolutely” be a good idea to have organisations for families to turn to for advice or share their concerns in confidence.
“I think this is one thing that needs to be addressed, because for me personally it was very difficult to know who to turn to. I didn’t know whether to contact the police, whether to go via the media or speak to family members…it was a bit of a shock,” Konika said.
“I think not only an organisation but a procedure to follow, because I don’t know what the steps are…I thought I did the right thing, and I hope it is, but I am just wary if I am making things worse now…I just
miss my brother very much and I’m just trying to make him realise that none of this is him,” she said.
Labour lawmaker Chuka Umunna asked her if she felt responsible for her brother.
“I feel a sense of guilt definitely – I’ve lost my brother and why was I not able to stop it because he is part of me,” she said.
Her statement in Parliament coincides with a documentary to be aired on British television tonight which shows Siddhartha Dhar brandishing a black ISIS flag in London in January 2014.
‘The Jihadis Next Door’, to be aired on Channel 4, captures him telling the filmmaker: “These are the black flags of Islam. This one’s actually the flag of the Islamic State, so one day when the Sharia comes, you will see this black flag everywhere.”
He skipped bail and fled Britain later that year with his wife and their four children to join ISIS in Syria.