Birmingham man to be stripped of British citizenship

Akif Razaq says he only went to Syria to help....
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A Birmingham man who works for an Islamist media organisation in Syria is set to become the first person since 2015 to have his British citizenship revoked.

Akif Razaq, 30, says his family in Hall Green were served with a notice by police on May 24 that informed him of plans to deprive him of citizenship.

The notice is understood to say he is “aligned with an al-Qaeda aligned group” and that he “presents a threat to the national security of the United Kingdom.”

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Mr Razaq first travelled to Syria in 2013 with an aid convoy. He returned for a second time, two years later, and joined On the Ground News (OGN), a media organisation founded by Bilal Abdul Kareem, a US citizen and Muslim-convert.

The OGN organisation produces video reports from rebel-held areas of Syria and now operates from Idlib, the last area of rebel-controlled territory in the north of the country.

Sources within the country claim it’s closely entwined with al-Qaeda linked groups and last month Mr Kareem claimed he had been placed on a US “kill list” due to his work.

In an interview conducted by Abdul Kareem, which has been posted online, Mr Razaq said: “I came home and my younger sister had sent me a message to say the police had been to my house in Birmingham. They told my family my British nationality has been revoked.

“When asked why, they were told I was, quote, unquote, a threat. They also said they will send a letter to the house in the near future, whenever that will be and that we could appeal against it if we wanted to.

“I was born in Birmingham and I don’t have another nationality. I originally came to Syria on a convoy to deliver aid. After seeing the oppression and situation here with my own eyes I went home but came back on my own.

“I know my house got raided a couple of years ago.”

Mr Razaq said he planned to challenge the ruling and added: “I have not got the letter yet, but I plan to fight this ruling. Once we do get the letter I plan to take steps to see what we can do.”

The 1981 British Nationality Act grants the Home Secretary the right to revoke citizenship of dual nationals or naturalised British citizens if it is deemed in the public interest or they obtained citizenship by false means.

According to figures 86 people had their citizenship revoked between 2006 and 2015.

The Home Office declined to comment on Mr Razaq’s case. – Birmingham Mail

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