British Al Qaeda fighter who died in Syria was convicted rioter

The International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR) has an important scoop in The Guardian:

A British Muslim has been killed fighting against Bashar al-Assad’s forces in Syria, his family in London have said.

Mohammed el-Araj, who was in his early twenties, is only the second Briton to have been named and confirmed as dead while fighting in the raging civil war.

Araj, who spent 18 months in prison for violently protesting outside the Israeli embassy in London in 2009 was killed in Syria in mid-August.

Note, in particular, Shiraz Maher’s observation in the final part of the article:

Maher said that it was worrying Araj had spent time in prison in the UK but the security services had then been unable to stop him travelling to fight in Syria.

“This blows the lid of the traditional idea that if you create a space for angry, quite radical protests in the UK, in London, it provides a channel through which angry young men can dissipate their energies, lest they be attracted into terrorism.

“This was very much the view that was dominant in parts of Whitehall and the police service,” he said.