British Muslim couple arrested in Turkey ‘on their way to Syria with their four children’ are back in Britain. A British Muslim couple arrested and held in Turkey amid fears they were travelling to Syria with their four young children have returned to the UK. Asif Malik, 31, and his partner Sara Kiran, 29, were seen on CCTV after leaving their home in Slough, Berkshire and boarding a ferry from Dover to Calais last month with their daughter Zoha, seven, and three sons Essa, four, Zakariva, two, and Yahya, one. The couple were arrested and held in Ankara in Turkey but have now been returned to the UK, a judge said.
At a hearing at the Family Court Sir James Munby said the children had been made wards of court following the court proceedings. He said the family was safe and well and being supported by social care staff and he said police inquiries were continuing. ‘The Malik family has returned to the jurisdiction of England and Wales,’ said Sir James, President of the Family Division of the High Court and the most senior family court judge in England and Wales.
‘The family is safe and well. The children are wards of court and the family continues to be supported by appropriate social care services, whilst the family court continues to ensure the welfare of the children in co-operation with their parents.’
He added: ‘Police inquiries will continue in the meantime.’
Malik and Ms Kiran, who neighbours said usually wore the full Islamic veil, left home without mentioning any holiday or travel plans to family members.
Police said the family boarded a ferry from Dover to Calais at 12.30am on Wednesday, April 8.
Neighbours said the alarm was raised after at least one of their four children failed to attend school and they were reported missing eight days after they left.
Their grandmother was also seen looking for them and knocking on other doors in the modern block of flats where they lived, asking if anyone had seen the family.
Police were concerned when news of the family disappearance came to light because they had not tried to contact any family members.
SYRIA CONCERNS SEE RISE IN CHILDREN MADE WARDS OF COURT
Judges have made a number of children wards of court this year because of fears they could flee to Syria.
Mr Justice Hayden, who sits in the Family Division of the High Court in London, has handled a number of cases involving girls from east London in recent weeks after fears were aired by social workers and police. He has also made a 16-year-old boy, whose two elder brothers had been killed waging jihad in Syria, a ward of court. The alarm was raised in February following the disappearance of Kadiza Sultana, 16, Shamima Begum, 15, and Amira Abase, 15, from their east London homes. Police said the teenagers were thought to have fled to join the Islamic State.
Concerns were raised about the family leaving for Syria after photos emerged of Malik waving a flag in support of ISIS at a demonstration in London last year.
The photograph shows Malik – a member of the banned UK extremist group al-Mujahiroun – holding a pro-ISIS sign at a protest against the arrest of hate preacher Omar Bakri Muhammad in May last year.
The picture, taken by extremism researcher Jacob Michelson, shows the 31-year-old standing outside the Lebanese embassy in London brandishing a poster. This reads ‘Islamic State Is Solution’, with the first letter of each word highlighted to spell out ‘ISIS’.
A number of teenagers have been made wards of court following the launch of family court proceedings this year – after fears were raised about them travelling to Syria.
Children who are wards of court cannot leave the jurisdiction of England and Wales without permission from a judge.