17032015Tue

Last updateTue, 17 Mar 2015 2pm

#Brazen: ISIS supporters seen encouraging British Muslims to join Islamic State

The Metropolitan Police is investigating after several men were spotted in Central London handing out leaflets encouraging British Muslims to join the Islamic State or ISIS.

According to reports, former students of militant British Pakistani cleric Anjem Choudhary, were among those taking part in distributing the leaflets.

One of the flyers says it is the "responsibility of all Muslims" to pledge allegiance to the "Khaleef" in reference to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-declared Caliph or leader of ISIS, who have captured vast swathes of territory during a violent campaign across Syria and Northern Iraq.

The leaflet goes on to declare 2014 as the "dawn of a new era".  Some of the students even called on British Muslims to migrate to Syria and Iraq.

Intelligence officials have expressed increasing concern about the number of British Muslims who have travelled to the Middle East to join ISIS, first in Syria and more recently in Iraq. 

More than 500 Britons are known to have joined the militants although the actual figure is thought to be much higher.

Many of those are said to believe they are following in the footsteps of the Prophet Muhammad who was forced to flee Mecca for Medina, in modern-day Iraq, in a 'Hijra' or migration to help preserve and subsequently promote Islam.

The distribution of leaflets in Oxford Street - one of Europe's most popular and crowded shopping areas - is the latest in a series of actions in support of ISIS in Europe.

Similar incidents have occurred in Norway, France and the Netherlands.

Police officials say they are assessing whether the contents of the leaflets is in breach of the UK's anti-terror laws.

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