27 June 2012
Two British Muslims from a mosque near Heathrow airport have been killed fighting beside Islamist militants in Yemen.
Adil Malik, from Hounslow, and a friend called Hisham died during the Arab nation’s increasingly bloody civil war in mountains near the town of Dammaj.
Malik, 24, a former accountancy student from Brunel University, went to Yemen four years ago to study the Koran at a madrassa.
His father praised his son as a “shaheed” – a martyr — and said he had inspired his entire family to take their religion more seriously.
The news of his death comes 24 hours after MI5’s director general Jonathan Evans said Yemen was now a training ground for British “would-be jihadis”.
Malik and Hisham both attended a small mosque under the Heathrow flightpath at Cranford — also occasionally attended by Asif Hanif, Britain’s first suicide bomber, who killed himself in a 2003 Tel Aviv bar attack.
An imam at the mosque said he did not agree with terrorism but would not discourage his congregation from going to Dammaj, which is a well-known seat of learning for fundamentalist “salafi” Islam.
British-born Malik, who went to Northolt High School, and Hisham had both studied with Sheikh Yahya al-Hajooree at the Dar ul-Haadith madrassa.
The school, which has come under regular attack by Shia Houthi tribesmen, is said to have several thousand students from all over the world, including dozens from Britain.
Two months before Malik died, the sheikh issued an online call to arms, declaring: “Whoever is killed defending his faith has died a martyr.”
Malik’s father, who moved to Britain from Pakistan 40 years ago, said Dammaj had been under siege by the Houthis for a month at the time his son died last December.
“He didn’t go there to fight but if someone comes and attacks you, you have to defend yourself,” he said.
“His time was written. It is going to come for you — it is written for everyone.”
He reserved his wrath for the Houthi tribal fighters, adding: “The Lord will punish them. They will pay, they will burn in hell. That is my prayer. They have taken innocent people’s lives.”