A Finnish-Somali politician has confirmed that a young man appearing in a jihadist propaganda video which was published online this weekend is his son.
Posted on Saturday by the militant extremist group Islamic State, formerly known as ISIS, the video features a man speaking accented Finnish calling on other Finns to join an Islamic caliphate governed by Sharia law.
Yle’s current affairs discussion programme A-Studio spoke to Faisal Ali Warabe, who became known in Finland when he ran as a candidate in Somalia’s presidential election. Warabe used to live in Espoo, where his wife and some of his family still live.
By telephone from his current home in Somalia, Warabe told the programme that the man in the video is his son, Sayid Hussein Feisal Ali, who has been in Syria for over a year along with his wife, who is also a Finn of Somali descent.
“I was shocked when I heard of it. I am worried now that I’ve seen his video come out. What he’s talking about is his thing, not ours. We want him out of there and we need help to do that,” Warabe said.
Reported fears to police
The father told Yle his son gradually began to be radicalised in 2010. Warabe says he contacted Finnish police to try and have his son’s passport confiscated, but claims they refused because the son did not have a criminal background.
”Through the computer he turned towards Islam,” Warabe said. “The imams who live in Finland are good, they try to teach young people how to behave well and are against radicalisation.”
In June Helsingin Sanomat reported that an Espoo man of Somali background had died in Syria. Warabe said that this man was also a relative, the cousin of his son.
”We believed in our child, but some people have now radicalised him,” Warabe said.
The jihadist organisation Islamic State, who grew from an offshoot of al-Qaeda in Iraq, has become one of the main militant groups fighting against government forces in Syria and Iraq. One month ago the group, then known as ISIS, announced that they had established an Islamic state across the two countries.
According to the security services, around 40 people have left Finland for Syria. However, there are many parties to the conflict and there is no information as to how many of these may have joined the Islamic State militants.