A British government minister, Rory Stewart, has created an uproar of controversy in the UK. Suggesting that thereally is only one realistic way of dealing with British converts who have gone to fight alongside ISIS in Syria and Iraq. That is to “kill them” while they are still overseas, before they return. No doubt he will be removed from his position soon for stating what is clearly the most popular choice among the British public.
His comments came during an interview on BBC Radio 5; he suggested that people who choose to leave the UK to fight for a hateful ideology must be regarded as dangerous.
He said: “They are absolutely dedicated, as members of the Islamic State, towards the creation of a caliphate, they believe in an extremely hateful doctrine which involves killing themselves, killing others and trying to use violence and brutality to create an eighth century, or seventh century, state.
So I’m afraid we have to be serious about the fact these people are a serious danger to us, and unfortunately the only way of dealing with them will be, in almost every case, to kill them.”
It is estimated by the British authorities that around 850 people have left Britain to fight for ISIS; of these, at least 400 have returned so far. Yet only one in eight have been actually prosecuted. This follows very closely the proposals of Britain’s opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn who has publically stated that none should be charged.
Mr. Stewart’s comments come just a short time after UK Defense Minister Michael Fallon said:
“If you are a British national in Iraq or Syria and if you have chosen to fight for [ISIS] – an illegal organization that is preparing and inspiring terror attacks on our streets – then you have made yourself a legitimate target and you run the risk every hour of every day of being on the wrong end of an RAF or a United States missile.”
The government’s Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, Max Hill QC, however, has very different ideas of what should be done with returning fighters. He said in a Radio Four interview that, “we should be looking towards reintegration and moving away from any notion that we’re going to lose a generation thanks to this travel.”
“But they have left space, and I think they’re right to do so, for those who … traveled out of a sense of naivety, possibly with some brainwashing along the way, possibly in their mid-teens … We have to leave space for those individuals to diverted away from the criminal courts,” he insisted.
One minister will be praised for his opinion to pardon enemy combatants. The other will undoubtedly lose his position for expressing the opinion that you kill the enemy rather than welcome them.
Mark is a political writer and journalist who has worked on campaigns for Brexit.