Chapter 2: Six Passports and a Gun

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 16

Six Passports and a Gun

Chapter 1

 

Tripoli Libya Palm Sunday, 2022.

A dark, ominous cloud of flag bearers and vehicles descended over the coastal city of Tripoli. Hisbah, female police of the notorious ISIS Islamic Jihadist group in niqabs, dressed from head to toe in black attire with Arabic writing on their headbands with only the eyes visible, leapt out of trucks, headed towards the marketplace and immediately began rummaging through magazine and book seller stalls in the search for material considered haram. 

Several Hisbah officers flicked through magazines and once they considered material offensive, began stacking up magazines and books setting fire to them in front of the stalls to the consternation of the vendors, who attempted to extinguish the fires as billowing smoke began to choke customers standing nearby looking down the barrel of a gun. 

Two of the Hisbah women dashed into a beauty salon brandishing AK-47s and began confiscating cosmetics and hairbrushes. In the lead truck sat Emir Abdul Sulaiman. 

He turned to one of the foreign recruits seated in the back, ‘Hamzar. It’s time to show your devotion to Allah.’ 

The man nodded, got out with a ready fitted explosive vest and ran to the gate of St Francis of Assisi’s main gate which was manned by a single security officer. The officer denied him entry. 

Walking back several paces, he then suddenly came back, grabbing the gate with a shout and yelled, ‘Takbir Allah Hu Akbar!’

The explosion blew the gate off its hinges and the street looked like the floor of an abattoir. Body parts in every direction. The church wall appeared as though someone had sprayed it with fresh, unfinished red paint. Inside the church, Father Antonio Belesconi was in the midst of performing Holy Communion, and the ear-shattering explosion knocked him and patrons off their feet. 

The Emir gave a signal and a man in a balaclava and combat jacket brandishing an RPG blew the main door in. Two other jihadists followed with sledgehammers, smashing the rest of the door and climbed inside the hall. 

Belesconi turned to protest, ‘How dare you desecrate this house of God!’ 

Patrons prayed fervently in front of the altar seeking salvation. A tall man in a tight black leather jacket wearing combat fatigues and balaclava joined them.

‘Hold him!’ He ordered the two jihadists. 

They held his arms out, spread-eagled. Shortly a professional camera crew arrived along with the Emir. The jihadist in black glared as the priest stared disbelievingly into the camera. Belesconi shook his head in dismay. 'May the Lord convert the hearts of the people who sew violence and death.’ 

A nun stepped in front of the priest. ‘Leave Father Belesconi alone!’ 

Black jacket, grabbed her by her habit and flung her to the floor, then turned to the camera crew. ‘Ready?’

‘Ready,’ the camera operator replied. 

‘Black jacket, grabbed Belesconi’s hair to face the camera. 

‘Say after me,’ said the Emire La ilaha illa Mohammad Rasulualah, 'Say it before we execute your Crusaders in front of your very eyes, you Kafir.’ 

The Emir backhanded the priest, and the jihadists took photos with their mobiles. 

‘I swear before Allah the infidels will regret the day they set foot in the East.’

 He turned to Black jacket, ‘You may proceed.’ 

Black jacket took out a serrated knife, holding it against the priest's throat. Belesconi was staring at a five-foot statue of Christ on a crucifix. As his throat was cut, the head rolled along the aisle, like a bowling ball. His vision suddenly changed as black boots obscured his view. 

Black jacket grabbed the head by its hair and showed off his trophy to the congregation who vomited while overjoyed jihadists began taking morbid photographs of the severed head. 

He turned it towards the camera then announced, ‘This shows that if you treat us like pigs, then all Jews and Christians shall die like pigs.’ 

The nun got to her feet just as she was making her escape through the gap in the door. A Jihadist aimed his AK-47 and shot her several times in the back. She fell forward. Arab news teams arrived on the scene, bustling reporters ejected with camera crews in tow, in a rush to announce the breaking news.

 

Amalfi Coast, Salerno, Italy.

Don Russo Belesconi stepped outside onto his veranda wearing a robe, smoking a cigar and stared out across the inlet of the aquamarine Tyrrhenum Sea. His Mediterranean villa surrounded by two and three storey high Greco Roman buildings. His crew were in the kitchen eating when the sports channel suddenly changed to breaking news. A feed from Al Jazeera. 

The headlines read Libya Tripoli, Priest beheaded. Islamic extremists known as ISIS have claimed responsibility. The scene focused on the priest’s beheading. One of the Don’s captains stared aghast at the screen and cried out.’ 'Poor Antonio!'

He stood up from the table in disgust and headed to Russo’s bedroom, and knocked. Luigi Bonatella saw the Don staring out across the bay at the cruise ships in the harbour and at the neon lit city below. Bonatella thought very hard about how he was going to break the news to the Don. Was he going to cry or burst out in anger?’ 

‘Don Belesconi, I have some very sad news to tell you.’ 

Belesconi turned to him. 'Ok, out with it!' 

‘Your brother António, is dead.’ 

Belesconi spoke slowly, but chose his words, carefully drawing on his cigar till the end glowed, ‘How did it happen? He was a priest, for Christ’s sake! I thought he was preaching in Egypt or some place.’ 

‘Libya actually. He was murdered.’ 

‘Murdered! By whom?’ 

‘They call themselves the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, ISIS for short.’ 

‘Oh yeah, I thought they bombed the hell out of those monkeys a few months back.’

‘A deal was made, and the Syrian government let them escape.’ 

‘You don’t say.’ 

‘Now, they are making a resurgence in Libya, the Philippines and Afghanistan, even parts of Africa.’ 

‘So, what do you suggest we do about it?’

 Before Bonatella could reply, the Don answered his own question.

 ‘I say an eye for an eye. That’s what’s written in the scriptures.’ 

‘Very biblical,’ replied Bonatella.

After a moment, he continued, ‘How did they murder him?’ 

‘It’s on the news. They decapitated him.’ 

‘Decapitated him, just like that. How dare they slaughter my poor brother like an animal!’

As anger rose, ‘I want you to get our best men and whatever else is needed to find these bastards. If they want war, then war they’ll get and one they won't believe. I want his murderers found and put on meat hooks! Is that understood?’ 

‘As you wish, Don Belesconi.’

‘I wish!’

A tear escaped as his thought dwelled on the terrible fate his younger brother had suffered.

Bonatella went back inside and rallied the crew and made some phone calls. The phone calls were intercepted by the Italian telecom company and a transcript forwarded to Agenzia Informazioni e Sicurezza Interna, AISI, Italian Intelligence Service. 

 

AISI HQ, Rome, Italy

Several agents were seated around a meeting table in a glass fronted soundproof room listening to the transcript. General Vitto Morelli was the first to speak. 

‘So, it looks as though ISIS has raised the bar once again. First in Egypt, then Paris, and now in Libya. Killing Belesconi's brother, a priest at that, is going to release the cat amongst the pigeons. Carmella, inform the other western security services that a war is about to begin.’ 

She nodded and left the room.

 

MI5, HQ Thames House, London UK

Theresa Jones, Director, was at her desk when she was handed the transcript from Italian Intelligence. She immediately called for an emergency meeting with all heads of department. 

They entered the soundproof cubicle and sat down. Behind her was a large TV screen. 

‘I caution you; this is very disturbing. If you need to turn away, then do so. We’ve just had the carpets cleaned so use the bins under your feet.’ 

It showed a video recording of the attack on the church and the consequential beheading along with the aftermath. 

‘Where is Marie by the way?’ 

‘She’s picking up her daughter from the airport.’ 

‘She’ll just have to be briefed later, then.’ 

‘OK, so what do we know so far?’ 

She turned to her PA. ‘One, that the attack and murder was carried out by Daesh or ISIS as they like to be called. Two, that voice recognition says that the murderer is of British origin. We are doing checks of his background as we speak. He has a distinguishing scar on his right arm. Possibly his family emigrated here from some Islamic country, or he could have done what a multitude of volunteers have done and been radicalised by some imam and joined the fight for Jihad. We have officers checking the neighbourhoods where they are most likely to come from.’ 

‘I take it to mean mid to lower-class immigrant families,’ asked Jones. 

The PA nodded, 'Don’t rule out the upper class either, there have been cases even abroad, of wealthy businessmen’s sons and daughters joining the ISIS struggle just because they feel as though they don’t fit into society.' 

‘Why is that guys?’ 

‘They feel like they’re a minority,’ answered Cliff Gibbons. 

‘They feel like ISIS gives them a voice,’ added Annet Kendal. 

‘It’s also the promise that ISIS gives them that they won’t be judged and that all are equal.’ 

‘Alright, onto point three. The unfortunate priest was Antonio Belesconi. The same name as Russo Belesconi, a powerful mobster now settled in Salerno, Italy. Who says crime doesn’t pay?’ 

Jones chuckled. 

‘Well, he’s out for blood now that Daesh has taken out his brother. I would like you to focus your attention on the transcripts. This tells us that he intends to take out the target. We have an obligation to see that this masked man has a fair trial and will be judged by a Judge and Jury. Not that that’s my conviction, of course. If our courts worked properly, I would have the bastard hung. But that’s just my opinion.’ 

 

Walthamstow, London

Two MI5 officers ejected from their white unmarked van and headed towards the Walthamstow market, along with a voice transcription of the ISIS suspect on a mini voice recorder and photograph taken off the video. They went up to a Muslim group of market stalls and as predicted, no one knew who the suspect might be or were afraid to say. They’d almost given up when an Indian Sikh acknowledged knowing him. 

‘Play that again,’ he asked, grabbing the voice recorder. 'Show me the photo again.’ 

He turned to his older brother for confirmation. 

‘Yeah, that’s him.’ 

‘That’s who?' asked Bennet, the lead investigator. 

‘Asad Razul. He and his brother used to run a stall just up there. It's those eyes, man, full of hate.’ 

‘Could you take us there?’ 

‘Sure.’ 

The Sikh stopped halfway and pointed to the stall. That’s his brother Ahmad. As soon as they approached the stall, Ahmad Razul made a run for it, tripping over orange crates. The officers called in an armed response team and as Ahmad attempted to scale a fence he was stopped in his tracks.

‘Halt!’ Shouted a responder holding up a Heckler and Koch MP5 submachine gun. 

Ahmad looked over his shoulder and thought better of continuing over the fence. The MI5 officers arrived. 

‘I've done nothing wrong! Why are you hassling me, man?’ 

‘No, but I bet your brother has,’ said Bennet. 

'Alright lads, we’ll take it from here.’ 

They led him to the MI5 van and shoved into the back. 

‘Alright son, where do you live?’ 

’Why?’ 

‘We want to ask you some questions in front of your family.’ 

They drove to the house, and his mother saw her son being led up the path. She opened the door.

‘Mrs Razul? I’m officer Bennet from the anti -terrorist group, MI5. Could we have a word with you, please?’ 

‘Why? What’s my son done?’ 

‘Nothing so far and we want to keep it that way.’ 

Mr Razul joined them in the living room and sat down to listen to the questions. Bennet put the voice recorder onto the coffee table. 

‘The time is five-thirty. The interrogation offices are Thomas Bennet and Joseph Collins. Suspect is Mr Ahmad Razul, a Pakistani, brother of suspected jihadist, Asad Razul. Are you or have you ever been in a terrorist group?’ 

‘Should I call a lawyer?’ Mr Razzul asked his wife. 

‘That won’t be necessary Mr Razzul,’ assured Bennet, ‘Unless Ahmad has anything to hide that is.’ 

‘Just answer the questions, son, as truthfully as you can,’ said Bennet. 

‘No. I’m not a terrorist and never have been.’ 

‘Tell us about your brother,’ asked Collins. 

‘What is there to say? He’s smart and intelligent.’ 

'Why do you say that?’ 

‘Cause’ he is. He studied computer programming in Karachi.’ 

‘Why Karachi?’ 

‘Come on, man you must be joking. If a Muslim male wants to study that course now, he’s immediately suspected of being an Islamic extremist.’ 

‘Well, in your brother's case they are right,’ replied Bennet. 

He turned to Mr Razul.

Mrs Razul, ‘Your son's voice recognition has been verified as that of a man who beheaded a priest last Sunday in Libya. Do you have a recent photograph of him?’ 

‘Just when we went on holiday.’ 

She got up, went into the bedroom and rifled through some drawers and brought out a picture album.’ 

‘I took this in Brighton. This one was taken before he left to study overseas.’ 

‘How did he get that scar on the back of his arm?’ asked Collins. 

‘Oh, he was just four, and he knocked a pan of boiling water off the stove.’ 

Bennet showed the photograph taken off the video. 

‘Same scar as this one.’ 

She began to cry. 

‘My son, what have you done?’ she cried out in despair. Her husband consoled her. 

‘Had he attended any religious classes?’ asked Collins. 

‘He used to borrow books from our local mosque,’ replied Mr Razul?

‘Do you have a computer, Ahmad?’ 

‘Just a notebook I use for school.’ 

‘Would you mind getting it for me?’ 

He obliged and brought out a well-used Dell notebook. 

‘Would you enter your password?’ 

Collins took it and searched his history. In particular, was an email from Asad. Explaining the power, he now felt as a true Jihadist. There was no actual evidence of Ahmad being influenced by his brother. 

‘Well, that’s all for now. If we need you for further questioning, we’ll inform you. However, we will have to take the notebook and your mobile so the cyber lads can take a look at them. We can drop you off at the market.’ 

‘Will I get my phone and notebook back?’ 

‘In about a week. Call this number and we’ll have them returned to you.’ 

Ahmad sat in the back, which gave the officers some time to cross-examine Ahmad’s views on extremism. 

‘Do you agree with your brother's principles?’ Asked Collins. 

‘Whether I agree or not, isn’t the question. It’s, why it happened in the first place?’ 

They came to the market, and he slid the side door back. 

‘Just one more thing, Ahmad,’ said Bennet, ‘Try to stay out of trouble.’ 

He went on his way, muttering pigs under his breath.

***

Chapter 2

 

Heathrow Airport, London, England

Marie Francis was shocked, when she first greeted her daughter and her Moroccan husband, whom she’d met on a working holiday in Casablanca and was now engaged to.

 Marie almost didn’t recognise her, for she was wearing a hijab and he, wearing a thobe, a long ankle like shirt sporting a Lincoln style beard.

‘This is Addel,’ said her daughter, Susan, introducing her husband.

‘Pleased to meet you, Addel,’ said Marie. 

He gingerly shook Marie's hand.

They crossed through the car park to her car and loaded their luggage in the back. As she made her way out, she stared into the rear-view mirror and made small talk.

‘So Addel, what do you do in Morocco?’

‘I’m a computer engineer. How about you?’ he countered.

‘Mum works for the government,’ interjected Susan.

As soon as that was mentioned, the conversation broke off. There was something about him she couldn’t quite put her finger on. His eyes, as they say, were the windows to his soul. What his actual intentions were, she was none the wiser. She just had an uncomfortable feeling, and it was her son-in-law that was giving her the jitters. She tried to put the thought out of her mind when she envisioned him holding an AK-47 against some innocent victim.

It relieved Marie when the journey ended as she pulled up in front of her house.

 

Bangkok, Thailand.

Neil Roberts was doing a pub crawl with some friends and were now in the Soi Cowboy strip of go-go bars. He went inside the Apache Bar and stood at the bar till he was served a beer. Looking around the dim lit room, he spotted a girl who caught his eye. Slim, long hair and legs to match with a painted-on dress. He walked over to her table.

‘I’m Tom, can I buy you a drink?’

‘Are you an American?’

‘Nope, I’m a Brit.’

‘You killed my friend.’

‘I haven’t killed anyone. You’re drunk.’

‘Your people killed my friend from Iraq. I hate you people.’

‘Ok, well, I guess a drink is out of the question then?’

‘What’s your name?’ he asked.

‘Grape.’

‘What was your friend's name?’ 

‘Abdul Rahman.’

‘We went to college together.’

‘He went home because of his mother and was killed in an air raid.’

‘What college did you both attend?’

‘Why do you want to know?’

‘I’m a reporter.’

‘Rajamangala University of Technology.’

‘How did you end up in this place?’

‘I’m still paying for my school fees and my mum doesn’t have a job.’

‘He took out a 500 Baht note. Show me your ID and hold it up to your beautiful face.’

‘What for?’

‘So my editor knows where the story came from.’

She took out her ID and held it next to her face while he took several photographs with his mobile.

‘Hey Neil, we’re going to another bar.’

‘Ok, be with you in a minute.’

‘Thought your name was Tom?’

‘Sorry, I lied.’

He went outside and immediately forwarded the photographs to Captain Somchai of the Royal Thai police.

 

Paris, France

Christine Aubert, a social worker, came home from a long day at work. She felt sorry for the conditions some Islamic families found themselves in. She confided her inner-most thoughts to a female colleague. 

Later, when she reached home and saw her father asleep in his chair. She received a text saying, Do you really want to make a difference? If so, meet me tonight at an internet cafe near to where you live. 

Within the hour she received a text telling her that her lift was outside.

‘Do you want some tea?’

 ‘No thanks papa, I have to meet someone.’ 

‘A boyfriend?’

‘No, nothing like that. I’m meeting with a female colleague from work for a coffee. Don’t wait up for me.’

She stepped outside and was surprised to be picked up by an Egyptian colleague, Nadia, who worked in accounts and was wearing a hijab.

They stopped at an internet cafe and ordered some coffee sitting down at two consoles.

‘Just look at what the kids are doing. Most aren’t playing games. They’re sending e-mails to their friends in the Middle East. They’re also trying to join their friends for the call for jihad.’

‘You mean joining the ISIS cause,’ replied Christine. 

‘That’s where our voice is heard. You’ve seen the conditions our people have to live in and how we are treated.’

It shocked Christine to see at the end of the game of Call of Duty, when a text came up in Arabic, Your time is nigh, you’ve completed the mission. Now do it for real.

‘Do you think I could make a difference over there?’

‘I’m sure you will marry a fierce warrior and your children will join in the fight for freedom.’

‘How do I go about it, then? Just get an air ticket to Turkey then onto Syria?’

‘No, Kafirs are everywhere. First, I’ll take you to a trusted travel agency, and then you’ll fly to Turkey, where you’ll be smuggled across the border.’

‘Isn’t it dangerous?’

‘No, the border guards are paid off. Any problem and they and their families will be killed. You need to take as much money as you can and any expensive jewellery to help with funding the jihadi fighters to buy weapons.’

 

Molonbeek, Belgium

Ali Bakar’s mother, an Algerian, was making up his bed. As she fluffed up the pillows under the second pillow, she found his notebook logged on to Fire from Hell, a Jihadist site created by ISIS.

She called her husband in. 

‘Majid come here, please,’

Her husband entered the room and saw the screen logged onto the extremist site where innocent people were being shot from behind on a beach by men in balaclavas.

They waited patiently for their oldest son to come back from work, while the youngest boy played with his toys. As soon as they heard the door open, Mr Bakar called out to him.

‘Ali, come here, please. I’d like to have a word with you.’

He entered the living room, where they were waiting for him. He took a step back when he saw his open notebook on the Fire from Hell site.

‘You mind explaining this, Ali?’ 

His father turned the notebook towards him.

‘They were Kafirs! Why do you care?’

‘Son, they were Muslims. They believe in the same God and prophet as you and I. How can you support such atrocities?’

‘What about the atrocities they committed? Bombing innocent civilians maiming children with their air raids and drone attacks.’

 ‘It’s not their fault, son it’s their government’s.’

‘Let’s agree to disagree,’ Ali said and went into his bedroom, locking the door.

Mr Bakar turned to his wife and held up his hands, ‘Where did we go wrong? Haven’t we brought our children up to honour their father and mother?’ 

Jamila shook her head in dismay.

Ali texted his friend Mohammad and explained what happened. A second later, a reply came back.

 ‘You’ll have to be more careful. Kaffirs are everywhere. I’ll pick you up in an hour. Pack some clothes, money and take something of value that can be sold.’

Ali waited till his parents had gone to bed; and packed a bag. He noticed his father's Cartier watch and his mother's pearl necklace on the display cabinet and shoved them into his bag. His younger brother, Asad, came into the kitchen to drink some milk.

 ‘Where are you going?’

‘Out.’

‘Can I come with you?’

‘Not right now. I’ve got things to do.’

Ali opened the door and left.

The following morning, his mother went into his bedroom to check on him. She dashed back to her bedroom and shook Majid awake.

 ‘Majid, Ali’s bed hasn’t been slept in!’ 

Majid got up and went to Ali’s room. He called Ali’s mobile, but it went to voicemail.

He turned to Jamilia, ‘He’s turned his mobile off.’

Jamilia cooked a quick breakfast and got Asad ready for school. Asad went out the door and made his way to school. A blue Renault followed him, then sped up just ahead of him. The door opened and Ali poked his head out, holding out his hand.

‘You want to follow me?’

Asad was more than eager to be with his brother whom he dotted on. He climbed in and they drove off.

‘What about school?’ Asad asked. 

‘You’ll get all the education you need where we’re going,’ replied Ali.

 

Sussex, England

By the end of the journey, Marie was gasping for a drink. Not that she was an alcoholic, but her blood pressure had gone through the roof. She opened the boot and helped them with the luggage and eagerly opened the door. She pulled out a bottle of Riesling from the fridge and poured herself a glass. 

She turned to her daughter, ‘Would you like one?’

‘No thanks, mum. I’m a Muslim now and it is haram, that means forbidden.’

Adeel looked pleased.

‘Oh, what time is it? I think it’s time for prayer.’

Susan opened one of her cases and took out two prayer mats. 

She handed one to Adeel, ‘Follow me up to the bathroom.’ 

He nodded. Marie saw her daughter’s shoulder bag on the kitchen counter, and curiosity overwhelmed her. She opened her daughter's bag and browsed through her passport, and in particular Adeel’s. She took a photo on her phone and quickly put the passports back, just as Susan was coming down the stairs.

Her daughter noticed her suddenly move back from the shoulder bag.

‘Mum! You weren't checking my bag, were you?’

‘Of course not, I was just admiring the brand.’

‘Gutti, very expensive over here,’ she defended herself.

 

British Embassy, Bangkok, Thailand

Neil Roberts entered the building and showed his ID to the Gurkha guard, then took the lift to the 5th floor. He went through a door marked Government Communication Directorate. The cover name for M15 operations abroad. His mobile rang. ‘Neil Roberts.’

He answered.

‘Mr Roberts, I’m Captain Somchai. We’ve done some investigations on the tip you gave us concerning Ms Grape. Actual name is Ammala Nitiporn. She has a record for forgery.’

‘What about the man, Abdul Sulaiman?’ 

‘He was in a radical faction known as BRNC, which operates in Southern Thailand. He returned to Iraq and never came back.’ 

‘So it’s possible he was a jihadist.’

‘Yes, possibly for ISIS or Al Qaeda. We’ll have the girl picked up for further questioning.’

‘Good idea. She could turn on a dime, as the saying goes.’

 

Paris, France

When Christine returned home, her father had retired to bed. She stuffed some clothes in a bag and her passport. She didn’t pack any cosmetics, as she knew it wasn’t allowed by ISIS. Some jewellery, and that was it. 

The following morning, she quickly scribbled a note to her father, saying it’s what she wanted to do and not to go after her. She went to work as usual and stopped at an ATM, withdrawing most of her savings, then entered her office, glanced at her schedule and made a few cancellations. Then together, she and Nadia headed to a travel agency to book her flight to Istanbul, Turkey.

 

Molenbeek, Belgium

‘What about Asad’s travel documents?’

‘Don’t worry, we have some of the best forgers and our people work in immigration, even customs. All we need is his photograph. You remembered to bring yours though, didn’t you?’ 

Ali nodded. 

They arrived at the travel agents where Mohammad did most of the talking.

‘Ok, we come back in an hour.’

‘I’m hungry,’ said Asad.

‘Alright, let’s get you something to eat.’

 

Sussex, England

Marie’s alarm went off, and she glanced at the clock. It was 5:30am. She quickly showered and got ready for work. It was a two-hour drive to Thames House.

As she passed through the security gate, her mobile rang.

‘Mum, we’ve decided to fly back to Morocco.’

‘But you’ve just got here.’

‘Adeel had a call from his brother, and he’s needed back in Morocco.’

‘I’m at work now, so I can’t see you off.’

‘I understand mum.’

‘Call me when you arrive.’

‘I will.’

‘If you need anything, don’t hesitate.’

‘Ok, thanks for everything mum, bye.’

‘Bye, luv.’

She walked across the car park and again passed through more security. This time Iris recognition, and then up to the 9th floor, then through a sliding door where she ran into Theresa Jones.

‘Hi Marie, how’s your daughter?’

‘She seems ok, not too sure about her husband though.’

‘What do you mean?’ She’s converted to Islam.’

‘Well, so long as he’s not a jihadist I wouldn’t worry.’

'We’re having a meeting at three. See you then.’

‘Right.’

Marie made herself a coffee and sat down at her workstation and browsed through her emails.

One email caught her attention. It was from one of her female students in Kobane, Syria, where she used to teach secondary students long before it became a war zone.

She read that her student Ariya, a Kurdistani, was flying to London for a holiday.

Marie replied and offered her to stay at her place. She would also pick her up at the airport once she had sent over her flight details.

She also had an email from Special Branch on her son-in-law, Adeel. He was a son of a wealthy Islamist in Morocco who owned a textile company. 

Well, at least Susan would never be poor, she thought.

***

 


Submitted: June 11, 2021

© Copyright 2021 geoffuk. All rights reserved.

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