10 March, 2015. 12:33
ERROL PARKER | Editor-at-large | Contact
The Islāmic State recruit the British media decried as “Britain’s White Jihadi” in December, proclaiming he was a “major coup for the terrorist group”, is actually a skinny, baby-faced boy from Lane Cove in Sydney’s north shore, who’s in Northern Syria completing his expedition and community service components for his Gold Duke of Edinburgh (DOE) award.
The Advocate can reveal that the young private school pupil pictured last December sitting between bearded men and holding an assault rifle in front of the black flag of IS is actually an 17-year-old Australian called Alex. We will not print his full name at the at the request of our own over-worked legal department.
At Gold level, participants must do an additional fifth ‘residential section’, which involves staying and working away from home doing a shared activity.
However, a spokesman for the leadership award says that working for a death cult is not acceptable.
“This is unacceptable behaviour,” said a DOE official
“We advocate experiencing other cultures but murdering people goes against our code of ethics,”
“It’s very disappointing to see.”
The 17-year-old’s friends told investigators that Alex wanted to “immerse himself entirely in a new culture” and came to the conclusion that joining the terrorist organisation’s gap year programme was the best way to do it.
“We all thought he was joking,” said one pal.
“He was always a bit of a ‘bad cunt’ – he used to sort us out for alcohol at parties,”
“I’m pretty sure we was the first one in our group to smoke weed.”
Surprisingly, one friend of Alex said he understands why he fled to Syria.
“Going on a DOE hike is the gayest fucking thing you can do as a 17-year-old,” he said.
“After I did the first one, I knew I’d made a horrible mistake signing on to this bullshit,”
“They said chicks would do it, too. That was another fucking lie they sell you,”
“Even if there are chicks, most of them are old and weird.”
Authorities understand that Alex left Australia for Turkey in November last year – where he was able to smuggle himself across the Syrian border.
The Co-curricular Coordinator at the school in question, Mr Campbell Watson says that because ISIL is not a registered training organisation, he won’t be able to sign off on Alex’s community service part.
“Unfortunately, when Alex comes back from his holiday, we won’t be able to accept his service with ISIL as part of his DOE award,”
“Also, he’s now in trouble with the law,”
“Although, should he come home and be sentenced to community service here – we’ll be more than happy to count that toward his Gold Award,”
The revelations come as Australian customs officials confirmed that two teenage brothers, believed to have attempted to travel to conflict zones in the Middle East, were stopped at Sydney Airport.
The youths, aged 16 and 17, were detained by Customs on Friday, after they aroused the suspicions of two Customs and Border Protection officers, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said.
The Advcoate has confirmed with sources in Turkey that at around that time, Alex, using his full Islāmic name and his family’s surname, was documented crossing into Syria via the Jarabulus or Tal Abyad crossings. The sources also identified him by photographs.
Neither the Attorney-General’s department nor the Australian Federal Police would comment on the case, but the government says at least 140 Australians have travelled overseas to fight in Iraq and Syria, of which whom at least 20 are known to have died.
With additional reporting from AAP.