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‘Regretful’ Islamists want to leave Syria

‘Regretful’ Islamists want to leave Syria

A group of British Muslims who travelled to the Middle East to join Islamist fundamentalists said they want to come home but are afraid of being jailed.

According to this report, the men told Professor Peter Neumann of King’s College that they regret their decision after becoming frustrated that rival rebel groups are fighting among themselves, instead of targeting President Assad’s forces.

Prof Neumann said that one jihadist, claiming to represent 30 others, told researchers:

We came to fight the regime and instead we are involved in gang warfare. It’s not what we came for but if we go back [to Britain] we will go to jail.

Prof Neumann said the Government should set up a “deradicalisation programme” for those willing former jihadis, echoing calls by Labour leader Ed Miliband who last month suggested a mandatory programme of deradicalisation for those involved on the fringes with Islamic State (IS).

Prof Neumann, who works at the university’s International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence said:

The people we have been talking to … want to quit but feel trapped because all the Government is talking about is locking them up for 30 years.

The jihadist told the researchers that the men are “being forced to fight – what option do we have?”

Prof Neumann said he believed as many as a fifth of British fighters could be trying to find a way out of their current situation.

He added if the correct approach was taken towards less-hardened jihadists who wanted to come back, they could become important figures to show potential fighters that the reality of battle may not match the image presented by IS propaganda.

• The photo shows Mohammed el-Araj, left, and Abu Hujama al-Britani, right, both from London, who died fighting with al-Qaeda-linked rebels in Syria.

27 responses to “‘Regretful’ Islamists want to leave Syria”

  1. Trevor Blake says:

    Not to worry lads! While dirty kufar like Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller are banned, England welcomes all the traitors who come to her shores. Why, you can even cut a woman’s head off in the afternoon sun while shrieking about Allah and not get charged with terrorism.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/11075380/Woman-beheaded-in-north-London-garden.html

  2. Andrew says:

    Er they regret that there isn’t a united front against Assad. Not killing. Not extortion or what is being done by the rebels but that there isn’t unity.

    At what point did ‘you made your bed’ suddenly stop? They chose to go. They chose to become supremacists and now they want to return. How do we know it’s not a ploy? To import battle hardened supremacist fanatics. We have their word alone. Not good enough.

  3. Matt Westwood says:

    “… rival rebel groups are fighting among themselves …”

    In the words of the great philosopher Nelson Muntz: “Haa-ha!”

  4. Vanity Unfair says:

    How new is this?
    1930s: UK citizens went to Spain to fight: mostly for the republican cause but some for the fascists.
    1939-1941: US citizens came to Britain to fight against Fascism before the USA entered WW2.
    1939-1945: Irish citizens likewise. Ireland remained neutral.
    1950s-1960s: British citizens, usually labelled “mercenaries” fought in various African civil wars, notably in Belgian Congo and Nigeria.
    1960s-1970s: British citizens tried, with mixed success, to participate in the Viet Nam war alongside the French and, later, Americans.
    1970s: British citizens joined the mujahideen fighting against USSR in Afghanistan.
    And don’t forget the Brigade of Gurkhas to whom the British Army has often been deeply indebted.
    In short: you have to give a very good reason why this situation is radically different to other occasions when foreigners have come to the aid of the UK (we’re always right, right?) or Britons have fought abroad without civilization falling.
    Oh, yes, and 1924:Beau Geste.

  5. Robster says:

    Serves them right I recon. Silly people, silly dogma, they deserve what they get. Don’t they understand that a simple prayer to Big Al or Mad Mo should result in their passport being returned and everything getting back to normal. that’s how it works, isn’t it? Before they get back to the UK, tell them how to shave.

  6. Paul Cook says:

    Gurkhas.
    I know many. They form part of a professional army.Fine, fine soldiers. Courages, honest and decent men. One wouldn’t want a better man next to one in a tight corner.

    They are nothing like these people. Comparing these Mountain people to these people is a travesty.
    The Gurkhas are an integral part of the British Army and have been for a long time for known and good historical reasons.They are not mercenaries these people are part of us all.

  7. Norman Paterson says:

    It’s tough being a grown up where your actions have consequences. But as the good Professor Neumann says, if they have learned a lesson, they can teach others. Community service perhaps?

  8. Newspaniard says:

    I knew this would happen. Bloody social workers will be at the ports offering them money, homes, sympathy and “love”. Bleedin’ Labour leader excusing them BEFORE they have applied to return home. The question to be asked is “How many people did you kill or maim before you got bored and decided you wanted to return to the civilized world for which you formerly professed hatred?” Missing clean water and toilet rolls? Tough, go and commit murder elsewhere.

  9. Newspaniard says:

    @Vanity Unfair. You terrorist excusers are always trying to deflect attention away from what you consider an uncomfortable truth. I’ll give you another “uncomfortable truth”: Unlike the examples you gave, all the jihadis expressed hatred for the UK, especially the infidels. Most of your examples loved their country of birth.

  10. barriejohn says:

    Newspaniard: Could you at least attempt to refrain from turning every difference of opinion into a conflict between “Left” and “Right”, as it’s a bit tiresome?

    Networks of radicals are re-emerging in British mosques and elsewhere to encourage and facilitate Muslims wanting to travel to Syria and Iraq to fight for Islamic State (Isis).

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/05/isis-recruitment-moves-to-radical-network-and-mosques?

  11. Broga says:

    Keep them out is my opinion. Deradicalisation? Oh yeh! How long will that take and with what result. They are more trouble than they are worth. When they left they left with their Islamic “values.” Well they have had a look and don’t like them. They could have reached that conclusion before they left.

    As for “persuading others not to go.” How soppy can we get?

  12. Norman Paterson says:

    The feeling here seems to be focussed on punishment for past actions, not on what can be salvaged for the future.

  13. barriejohn says:

    NP: I agree. If they are really disillusioned with this pathetic movement it might be possible to use them to counter the “radical” propaganda that is undoubtedly being disseminated in the Muslim community at home. It’s most encouraging to learn that the barbarians are fighting amongst themselves – it’s what we’ve seen elsewhere, and, of course, people always get tired of “perpetual revolution” anyway, and eventually yearn for a quiet life just getting on with raising their families and earning a crust; it’s human nature.

  14. Newspaniard says:

    @barriejohn. It is a left vs right argument. I don’t mind being “tiresome” to the left at all.

  15. Graham Martin-Royle says:

    I think that some of these may have gone to Syria in a good cause, to fight for democracy against the barbarity of Assad. When they first went, people were applauding them, putting their lives on the line in the cause of the Arab Spring (remember that?) and democratic government. ISIS didn’t exist then. Now the situation has changed, anyone going out now knows that they will be joining a very radical islamic group. Anyone who has gone in the last 6 months, goodbye and good riddance, anyone before that will have to be treated on an individual basis, some may be okay, some we may want to send straight back.

  16. barriejohn says:

    Newspaniard: It might also help were you to refrain from labelling people on the basis of a few random internet comments. That habit really IS tiresome!

  17. Newspaniard says:

    @barriejohn. And you are… A god? The Prime Minister? The Archbish? My opinion is no less valid than yours… unless you are going to smite me, in which case, I submit.

  18. Matt Westwood says:

    If a person is a British citizen, whatever damn colour they are and however stupid and straggly their beard is, the government has NO right, ZILCH, KABUTNIK, SWEET FANNY ADAMS right to take it off them and render them stateless on the basis of what they might or might not have done in another nation, under a different set of laws, perhaps.

    Where does this leave other people who break the laws of this country while abroad? Say I went to Colorado and smoked some weed. Can I then be barred from re-entering the country because of doing something illegal (in Britain) abroad?

    News for you guys, apparently yes, and apparently they always can. When I came back via the ferry from a heady weekend on the Continent some time ago when I was young and even more of a smartarse than I am now, I started singing Crosby / Nash’s “Immigration Man” while standing in line with a load of other more-or-less pissed-up students. I was yanked out of the line by a big ugly customs official who told me to shut up. “You can’t make me,” I said, “I can sing if I want to, it’s a free country.” I was informed categorically that my re-entry into the United Kingdom was completely dependent upon the decision of the immigration team and they were completely within their rights to remove and destroy my passport then arrest me for not having the appropriate documents to travel.

  19. Swiftsure says:

    Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed that these people don’t want to come back to Britain because they might face jail, NOT because they might be beheaded or crucified by a mob of secularists who would put the videos of it on the internet, gloating as they do so?

  20. Norman Paterson says:

    I sense some gloating, but not the other stuff! I will try to only gloat inwardly.

  21. Norman Paterson says:

    An edit facility! Wow – well done, whoever did it.

  22. andym says:

    Swiftsure, excellent article by Nick Cohen on that very point here. In fact , everyone on here will love it;
    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/07/militant-atheism-religious-apologists-intellectuals

  23. Newspaniard says:

    What edit facility?

  24. gedediah says:

    These people are uk citizens. Barring them from returning is surely illegal. If they’ve commited crimes while abroad they should be prosecuted like anyone else would be. You can’t allow cherry picking when to apply justice, otherwise, we’re all in danger from it.

  25. Solage 1386 says:

    Hopefully IS will crucify them.

  26. Frank says:

    They are so manly, not wanting to take responsibility for their crimes.

  27. jo says:

    How much will this ‘de-radicalization’ cost? In addition to the cost of the air-strikes, and whatever else we’re paying for now because these dupes decided to go on a psycho-jolly?
    What happened to austerity? Or is that just for non-jihadis?
    Perhaps if these people are so ‘sorry’ for their own stupidity, they might like to PAY for their own deradicalization. Yes! Just as us ordinary, stay-at-home types have to pay for higher education.
    No wonder there’s such a poor voter turnout. Our politicians are sooo stupid!