A veteran aid worker from Birmingham is among scores of British nationals stripped of their citizenship because of suspicion surrounding their activities in Syria, Middle East Eye can reveal.
Mohammed Shakiel Shabir, who has been based in opposition-held Idlib province for the past four years, said he had been informed by the government that his citizenship had been revoked on the grounds that his return to the UK would “present a risk to national security.
The government also accuses him of being “aligned with an al-Qaeda-aligned group”. Speaking exclusively to MEE, Shakiel described those allegations as “ridiculous” and said he had been a “fulltime humanitarian” for more than 15 years, working in countries including Haiti, Pakistan and Myanmar for IHH, a Turkish aid organisation.
“Everything I do is above board. Where the fuck am I going to get the time to go on fucking jihad here? Am I like a dual personality? Aid worker by day, jihadi by night?”
In Idlib, his work has included coordinating the distribution of charity aid donations, driving ambulances, and supporting search and rescue operations in the aftermath of air strikes, which have pounded areas of Idlib for the past few weeks, killing and injuring hundreds of people and displacing tens of thousands.