Syria Girl's Father 'Not An Extremist'

7 April 2015, 11:39 | Updated: 7 April 2015, 11:41

The father of a schoolgirl from east London who is feared to have joined Islamic State has insisted he is not an extremist after he attended a protest in which an American flag was burned.

Abase Hussen spoke of his regret at joining the demonstration outside the US Embassy in 2012, according to reports.

Michael Adebowale - one of Fusilier Lee Rigby's killers - is also said to have been present at the rally against controversial film Innocence of Muslims.

Images of Mr Hussen at the demonstration emerged after his 15-year-old daughter Amira Abase and two teenage friends went missing from their family homes in east London, prompting an international police hunt.

Mr Hussen told The Times: "It was a mass protest. I had heard it was going on from mosques, so I went there, I just went by myself, I went to show my feelings because my religion was being insulted, my faith. Protesting is not radical, it is our right."

He apologised for his involvement and said he disagreed with flag burning, according to the newspaper.

"I feel tricked. It is strange for me. I feel that I don't know what I was doing, I did not know who they (the organisers) were. I just followed the crowd, I feel ashamed," the 47-year-old said, adding that he felt "terrible" knowing he had protested with one of Mr Rigby's murderers.

Bethnal Green Academy pupils Amira, Shamima Begum and Kadiza Sultana are believed to be inside Syria after flying to Turkey on a well-trodden path to the country.

Mr Hussen said he was "disappointed and upset" at his daughter for apparently joining IS.