A Muslim community leader said that two of four Sydney brothers who recently left to join the Islamic State terror group are obese and doubts that they will be allowed to join the terror group on the battlefield.
The brothers, aged 17, 23, 25, and 28, tricked their mother into thinking they had won a free trip to Thailand, but instead traveled to Syria to fight alongside the extremist group.
Dr. Jamal Rifi, a family friend and leader in the Australian Muslim community, told 2UE news that he hopes that the physical condition of two of the brothers will disqualify them from combat and will prompt them to return home.
“We are hoping the fact that two of them they are quite obese, they are not good foot soldiers. They are over 140 kilograms and people who are going to see them are going to realize (and ask) ‘what are we going to do with them? Are they going to eat all the food and can’t even run on the field?'” he told the Australian radio station in a Monday interview.
“The mother, she’s questioning why would they go there. Two of them barely can walk; they’re very unfit, and obese,” he added.
In the interview, Rifi also said that the boys were religious, but not “hard line or radical,” calling their decision “totally out of character.”
The brothers’ family, who have chosen to remain anonymous, had no idea their sons had been radicalized and are devastated by their actions, Rifi told news.com.au on Monday.
Rifi suspects that they may be used in propaganda videos, similar to the way teenage Australian runaway Abdullah Elmir was featured in an Islamic State propaganda video recently.
A day before they were due to return from their vacation in Thailand, their mother received a text message that read: “We made it to Bilad al-Sham [a region in Syria]. We will see you in Paradise.”
In a statement obtained by the Sydney Morning Herald, their mother pleaded for her sons to return home. “My sons, you are dear to us, you are good at heart. You have done nothing wrong, come back. We love you,” she said in the statement.
Unlike some of the other foreigners who have joined the Islamic State, the brothers from Sydney were not on any watch lists that would have alerted immigration authorities.