British nationals that join jihadist groups abroad are still British nationals

British nationals that join jihadist groups abroad are still British nationals and should be processed by our criminal justice system like other criminals.

British nationals that join jihadist groups abroad are still British nationals and should be processed by our criminal justice system like other criminals

I want to start a discussion about this vexatious issue by making one point very clear: British Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTF) that travel to Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan to join jihadist groups are not freedom fighters or humanitarians by any definition.

There should no ambiguity on this point.

British nationals that join groups like Islamic State, Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda or the Taliban are fighting for fascist, totalitarian and imperialist movements that are seeking to trample on the right of women, religious minorities, homosexuals and anyone else who does not conform to their barbaric worldview.

Whether or not they think they are doing the right thing is also completely irrelevant since we do not use this ‘get out of jail card’ for any other set of offenders.

No cause can justify the rape and enslavement of young girls or the cold blooded murder of children, acts that Islamic State not only carry out but celebrate.

Furthermore, joining an illegal terrorist group abroad and/or committing acts that would be illegal in the UK whilst abroad is a crime under British law.

However, the manner in which we deal with foreign fighters that wish to return to the UK is a more disputatious topic.

Some argue that we should let them live with the consequences of their actions and deny them entry, whilst annulling their passports rendering them stateless.

Others take a more pragmatic approach and advocate a Danish style amnesty in which foreign fighters are given incentives to jettison their jihadist worldview and re-integrate into British society.

In my view, British nationals that join jihadist groups abroad are still British nationals and, as such, should be processed by our criminal justice system like other criminals.

However, we must not lose sight of the threat such individuals could potentially pose to national security and, thus, have a robust plan in place to process them when they return.

In a new report released today by Quilliam, entitled ‘Islamic State: The Changing Face of Modern Jihadism’, the authors’ state:

“Returning FTFs should all face due process combined with a robust de-radicalisation programme that addresses the traumas that returnees will have inevitably experienced and provides more tangible deliverables for eventual reintroduction into greater society, while addressing the risk of backsliding into extremist networks. Prisons should have mandatory de-radicalisation programmes for individuals that have been incarcerated for extremist and terrorist-related charges. De-radicalisation programmes should not only include processes which deconstruct the narratives espoused by violent extremists, but also challenge the ideological principles behind extremist organisations which divide society along binary lines.”

However, the extent to which we can re-integrate foreign fighters back into society after having spent time with jihadists depends on the quality of our de-radicalisation programmes. With foreign fighter numbers seemingly on the increase, we should seriously consider assessing the quality of our current provision and, if necessary, ramping it up and expanding it.

Beyond being taken through the British justice system and comprehensive de-radicalisation programmes, it is vital we use the opportunities disillusioned and, potentially, transformed foreign fighters may offer.

As well as punishing and rehabilitating foreign fighters, we also need to consider using them to undermine the attraction of groups such as Islamic State. There is no better way of discrediting Islamic State than popularising negative accounts of individuals that have experienced the terrorist group from the inside.

We also have to ask what Islamic State recruitment of 500-600 British nationals says about the society we live in. Since the failure to foster an inclusive sense of identity and cohesive communities in the UK is a collective one, preventing the further alienation and disenfranchisement should also be viewed as a collective duty.

As such, we need to ask ourselves what more we can all be doing to prevent young people from abandoning loved ones and the comfort of life in the UK for the battlefields of Syria and Iraq.

Ghaffar Hussain is the the managing director of Quilliam

13 Responses to “British nationals that join jihadist groups abroad are still British nationals”

  1. tzioneretz

    Can you idiot lefties quit coming up with these cockamamie theories cobbled up in college political science classes and accept that these jihadis are NOT misunderstood and victimized human beings who made bad choices but are lowlife scumbags who deserve death (preferably painful and protracted)?

  2. JammyPickles

    “As well as punishing and rehabilitating foreign fighters, we also need to consider using them to undermine the attraction of groups such as Islamic State. There is no better way of discrediting Islamic State than popularising negative accounts of individuals that have experienced the terrorist group from the inside.”

    So you seek to put them on Big Brother, make them Z List TV Stars or Z list Liberal Democrats like Maajid Nawaz?

  3. Guest

    They didn’t use your theories, though, as you spew PC bigotry.

    No surprise you’d murder British citizens based on your suspicions – aid workers and doctors on Doctors Without Borders programs would be first in line – gleefully using torture in a lovely display of the fact you’re no better than they are, and thus subject in your rules to your own penalties…

  4. The_Average_Joe_UK

    Murderers or rapists, perhaps both?

  5. swat

    They are, and should be treated as enemies of the State, even though they are young men led astray into murderous crimes of violence against innocent people. That is why they should not return here, and if they do, they should be tried and executed for war crimes.
    Which leads to the question: What does the International community do with ISIS when they are defeated? as surely they will be. Precedence goes back to the Nuremburg Trials where the culprits were executed. As rthe crimes were committed in Syria and Iraq we should leave Assad and the Leaders of Iraq to deal with them. Saddam was tried sentenced nad justly hanged. The same fate should be reserved for the lot of jihadists.

  6. Reconstruct

    Seriously, what is to be gained by the trouble & expense of attempting – probably unsuccessfully – to allow them to reorient their lives? Especially if the likely failure of such attempts simply bequeaths us the presence of terrorists, rapists and murderers in our midst? Where’s the upside?

    I agree that their willingness to kill and die abroad for such a genuinely evil cause is tragic for all involved. I also think that redemption is possible. But that’s up to them, not me. I see no reason I or my family should be put at the slightest most marginal risk by having them back. They’ve made their choice and should never be allowed back in Britain.

  7. Jerry H

    My understanding is they swore an oath of allegiance to their Caliph and his state which in my view voids their British Citizenship.

    I have no interest in wasting time on hugs and cuddles in some “de-radicalisation” process largely because I don’t believe it will work.

    We cannot even de-radicalise kids in school, let alone prison and certainly not these guys.

    Its well known that returning soldiers suffering from PSD commit more violent crime, so it will be with these guys, particularly given some of the atrocities they may have participated in.

    The bottom line is we owe them absolutely NOTHING and they are not worth the risk.

    Write them off.

  8. Guest

    Write citizens off. First a few, then more, etc.

    Write off the kids, criminals, soldiers…

  9. Guest

    So what sort of proof will you require of anyone returning to the UK?

  10. Guest

    Ah, so you want to support Assad’s “right” to murder the refugees. Surprise!

  11. tzioneretz

    “you’re no better than they are”

    Ah yes, a favorite mantra of the holier-than-thou pseudoliberals. Let’s show how “enlightened” we are by being the exact opposite to them. Thank goodness you were not around in 1945 when the Nazis were getting their just desserts.

    “My suspicions”… Sheesh… Yeah, those animals cutting off people’s heads are merely performing medical procedures, right! And the barbarians buying women at meat markets are just engaging in a bit of social engineering. They’re just innocent N.G.O. activists who may have taken their mission a bit too far… – then again, we mustn’t “judge.”

    SMH.

    You’re damn right I want them dead! May a thousand drones be upon each of them, in-f!@#ing-shallah.

  12. The_Average_Joe_UK

    Don’t be worried by Leon. He’s a troll wearing two faces.

  13. Aimadigithat

    ALL muslims from Europe should go to the Caliphate.
    Muslims are happy in the Caliphate.
    ALL muslims should go there and if they dont want, we should KICK them to the Caliphate, the bloody idiots.

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