Target 2

'He had no fear whatsoever of death'

British ISIS militants Reyaad Khan (left) and Ruhul Amin (right) pictured here in a screengrab from an ISIS propaganda video. They were both killed in Britain's first air strike against Syria last month, British Prime Minister David Cameron announced
British ISIS militants Reyaad Khan (left) and Ruhul Amin (right) pictured here in a screengrab from an ISIS propaganda video. They were both killed in Britain's first air strike against Syria last month, British Prime Minister David Cameron announced on Monday.PHOTO: YOUTUBE

LONDON • Briton Ruhul Amin was much like any British youngster - a keen cricketer who enjoyed music, drinking and clubbing. But that was all before he travelled to Syria last year, to fight with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terror group.

When Amin, 26, came to public attention in an ISIS propaganda video exhorting Britons to join their cause, his friends could hardly recognise him.

"Are you willing to sacrifice the fat job you've got, the big car you've got, the family you have? Are you willing to sacrifice this, for the sake of Allah? Definitely, if you sacrifice something for Allah, Allah will give you 700 times more than this," Amin said in the video.

He was born in Moulvibazar, Bangladesh, but grew up in Aberdeen, where his parents ran a takeaway restaurant, reported The Telegraph. Before travelling to Syria, he worked as a pizza delivery boy, in a salon, and in a spice shop.

Amin once told his family he loved and missed them, but that he loved Allah more. That was the message he sent to his family last year, after it was reported that he was killed by Iraqi government forces near Ramadi, west of Baghdad. It turned out that he was alive, and even got in touch with his sister through her social media accounts.

"Oh my family, do not think my heart has become a stone," he said. "I do miss you, I love you, but I love Allah more."

But his escape from death was short-lived. Prime Minister David Cameron said on Monday, that Amin and another British militant, Reyaad Khan, were killed in the country's first air strike in Syria last month.

The Telegraph quoted his school friend Stephen Marvin as saying: "I spoke to him a couple of times. I heard about him being brainwashed and all that, so I wanted to speak to him and find out exactly the mindset he was in, and get his point of view."

Amin told his friend that he met some people in Birmingham, and was offered a chance to go to Syria, with the promise that he could return to Britain any time he wanted.

"He went over and spent three months in a Quran-type camp, that gets you into their type of thinking around the Quran. Then he went on to three months of military camp after that," Mr Marvin said.

"The first time I phoned, I heard a gunshot in the background. He said it was rebel fighters. I asked him, aren't you scared of getting shot?"

Mr Marvin added: "He said if he dies, he'll be with Allah. That kind of shocked me... He had no fear whatsoever of death. He was confident he was going to a better place."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 09, 2015, with the headline 'Target 2 'He had no fear whatsoever of death''. Print Edition | Subscribe