Returning Jihadists should be employed as “spokesman for their communities”.
Our Beloved Comrades the Jihadists are out to Murder.
“Rather than banning fighters from coming home, governments should consider employing them as spokespeople in their home communities.”
No this does not from the Guardian Comment is Free or from those see some elements of ‘progressive’ politics in the battle for the ‘Caliphate’.
It’s by “Josh Cohen …a former US State Department project officer. He currently works for a satellite technology company, contributes to a number of foreign policy-focused media outlets and tweets @jkc_in_dc. “
And it appears on Now.
It must rank, and it certainly ranks, as the most willfully vile suggestion that’s floating around.
We make a sharp distinction between attitudes and actions. All attitudes must be dissected and debated. This is the lifeblood of a democracy.”
One obvious question, then, is where the West’s Syrian jihadists — and would-be jihadists — land if prevented from returning home. Stateless and now rejected by their home countries, many will likely wind up in tertiary countries such as Yemen or Libya, where they are much more likely to come into contact with groups such as Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) or Ansar al-Shariah, and in turn potentially become part of a core of angry, “professional” jihadists dedicated to bringing destruction to Europe and the West.
Another important fact to consider is that many Westerners who have joined ISIS in Syria have become disillusioned with the organization upon discovering its brutality towards its fellow Muslims — not to mention the fact that jihad is not quite so glamorous when you are pulling washing duty and your iPod doesn’t work. One example of this phenomenon is the 30 British citizens with ISIS who have expressed a desire to return home but are stuck in limbo due to fears of long prison sentences when they arrive back in the UK. Rather than banning them from coming home, the UK government should consider employing them as spokespeople in their home communities as the perfect antidote to the tremendously effective social media recruitment campaigns with which ISIS targets young Western Muslims.
Finally, stripping returning jihadists of their citizenship may actually violate the UN Convention on Reducing Statelessness, as well as international human rights law. Referring to the UK’s revocation of citizenship, Dr. Christophe Paulussen, of the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism at the Hague, noted that “it becomes dangerous when measures are slowly eroding [international] law principles that we have cherished for so long and that we stand for.”
In Denmark, by contrast,
the municipality of Aarhus has implemented a unique program that focuses on inclusion rather than punishment.
And while implementing a de-radicalisation programme in the country,
…not all radicalization can be prevented, so Aarhus has also established a comprehensive reintegration and de-radicalization program for those returning from Syria. “The program’s core is that we have one entry point to help, but that help can have very different characteristics depending on the individual situation. It can be debriefing or psychological help; it may be in the form of a mentor, assistance with housing or something else. The program is rooted in the police, but includes many different disciplines,” Agerschou noted.
While some believe the Aarhus program is too soft, so far it is working. In 2013, 30 people travelled from Aarhus to Syria to participate in the conflict. As of August, however, only one person had been recorded travelling from Aarhus to Syria in 2014. Aarhus is also working with numerous returnees, most of whom are now engaged in work or education rather than the conflict in Syria. Word of Aarhus’ focus on rehabilitation and dialogue has spread in Syria, impelling many Danish Muslims — most of whom have also become disillusioned with jihad — to seek a way to return to Denmark and leave the jihadi life behind.
While there is no single anecdote for homegrown jihadism, Aarhus offers a model that Western governments would be wise to at least consider.
In our view those fighting with the genociders of Da’esh (Isis) and Al Nusra (also guilty of persecution, torture and mass murder) and should be investigated for war crimes.
They should indeed be excluded from society.