On Saturday The Sunpublished a story on its website that details the trials and tribulations of a refugee foster carer called "Rosie" (full name protected for "fear of reprisals"), who was shocked to discover that a supposed 12-year-old refugee child from Afghanistan actually turned out to be a 21-year-old jihadist, which was made evident by his striking ability to "strip" a rifle and his aptitude for climbing ropes, as if he had been trained by a terrorist cell of sorts.
A dentist apparently "rumbled" the boy, whose name is Jamal, by discerning his age via his teeth. The article also states that "Taliban material and child abuse images were later found on his mobile." He has been arrested for alleged assault and has had his asylum turned down, but is reportedly appealing this.
This is very similar to a story the Mail Online ran in February of this year, in which another 12-year-old refugee child, again from Afghanistan, was, again, foiled by dental checks and, once again, found to have "indecent images of children" and evidence that he had visited "Jihadi websites" on his phone.
But these aren't the only common threads in the two stories. Looming large in both versions is Conservative MP for Monmouth David Davies (not to be confused with David Davis). He's the source for the Mail story and put The Sun in touch with Rosie, as well as giving comments to both. He told the Mail: "[The refugees are] encouraged to lie because if they say they are 12 they are allowed to stay in the country for six years until they face being kicked out. But when their six years is over and they're being forced to leave they just turn around and say it's a breach of their human rights. It's all a complete ruse."
John Madden, who runs the Twitter account The Sun Apologies, was the first to notice the similarities between the two stories and their link to David Davies.
"It'd appear that The Sun is either guilty of rehashing an old story (true or not) and erroneously calling it an exclusive, or have gone to David Davies for their exclusive and he's given them the same story he gave the Daily Mail," he said in an email. "It almost looks as if there's this modern folk tale of the 12-year-old Afghan refugee with the incriminating phone who gets found out by the local dentist. The tale just gets embellished and modified with each retelling to the point we're currently at, where he now shows his adeptness with a rifle at the local shooting range – a strange place to take a child traumatised by war."
It is a strange telling in both instances, and the story begs many questions that have yet to be answered. Here are some of those questions:
– If a 21-year-old Jihadist was really moonlighting as a schoolboy in order to sneak into the country and terrorise its citizens, surely he would be a little bit more incognito than to deconstruct and reassemble a rifle in front of his new foster family?
– "Rosie" the foster mum wanted her identity protected for fear of reprisals, and has apparently been receiving death threats. But who is sending death threats to a woman who turned in a supposed terrorist with child porn on their phone? It certainly won't be the right, alt or not, or even the left. Could it be other Jihadists? Would they not be exposing themselves by doing this?
– What is the timeframe of this boy / man entering the care of this woman, and her taking him to a rifle range and a climbing facility in which he can show off his skills? Why did she think the former was an even vaguely appropriate activity for someone she has taken in after fleeing a war zone?
– Why are these refugees subject to seemingly almost immediate dental examinations?
– Why is the image of Jamal's face blocked out to protect his identity on The Sun's website, when, as John Madden says, "It's had no hesitation in printing pictures of refugees arriving in the UK from Calais this week, even though it may well put them at risk from attacks."
– Is it normal for a rifle range to allow customers to "strip" rifles on their premises, especially after they've been told the age of the child? What rifle range did this take place at? Rosie apparently lives in the south east, where we're reliably informed there aren't a great many rifle ranges.
The Sun has declined to comment. We reached out to David Davies MP to ask him some of these questions, but did not receive a reply.
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