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Otto Inglis: Red-carpet return of the jihadi traitors


Jihadis returning from fighting in Syria are to be offered housing, counselling and help in finding jobs to stop them carrying out attacks here, reports the Mail on Sunday. The paper continues that under the secret government strategy – Operation Constraint – which is to be rolled out next year, they could even jump council-house waiting lists.

Put simply, the rehabilitation theory of criminal justice is to be applied as a tool of counter-terrorism to deal with traitors, war criminals and terrorists. This policy is not only unjust; it will encourage Islamist extremism and place us in more danger.

Of course, Operation Constraint comes as no surprise as a few days ago Max Hill QC, the independent reviewer of anti-terror laws, said on radio about returning jihadis: ‘The authorities have looked at them and looked at them hard and have decided that they do not justify prosecution, and really we should be looking towards re-integration and moving away from any notion that we are going to lose a generation due to this travel.’

The words ‘do not justify prosecution’ are misleading. Prosecuting people requires both the will to do so and good evidence. Given that a civil war was being fought, the evidence will in most cases not be available. No doubt British and allied intelligence services have been monitoring social media and phone calls out of the area, and will have a great deal of material that they are reluctant to release.

In essence, the thinking goes like this: we can’t stop them coming home, and we can’t prosecute most of them, so we’ll just have to welcome them back and be nice to them.

Remember that these young people went out to join an organisation, self-styled Islamic State, which made no secret that its objective was to subjugate or kill all those who did not accept its Salafist interpretation of Sunni Islam – a group that viewed itself as at war with our country and our civilisation. In doing so they chose to be enemies of this country. Traditionally that would have been viewed as treason.

Nor could anybody doubt that IS meant it, for they helpfully uploaded a stream of depraved execution videos, showing, for example, children killing prisoners with knives and a captured Jordanian pilot being burnt alive. This same organisation attempted genocide against the Kurdish Yazidi religious minority; the men and older women whom they captured, they slaughtered; the younger women and children, they took as slaves – in the 21st century!

The international community is only now coming to the end of hunting war criminals from the Second World War, as they are almost all dead. And yet British and other Western European governments are planning to reintegrate people who are not only traitors, but who willingly joined an organisation even more evil than the SS or the NKVD.

This is exactly the opposite of how people do things in the real world. Running my own business for many years has taught me two bitter lessons – don’t hire liabilities, and if you do, get rid of them as soon as possible.

All those who went out to Syria to join IS, or for that matter any of the other Salafist groups such as Al-Nusra, have by that action clearly demonstrated that they are a liability to this country.

In a sane world, all the returnees would be thoroughly vetted to separate those who went out to join the Islamists from those who had legitimate reasons for being there. We would then take effective action against the jihadis.

Of course, you and I know that the government can’t actually do any such thing. They don’t have the evidence to prosecute them. If any of the returnees are dual nationals then their British citizenship could be revoked, but this has rarely been done, and then only when the person was abroad. Also, almost every other possible measure would contravene either human rights or equal opportunities. There is also the fear of being portrayed as targeting Muslims, even though the vast majority of the victims of IS were Muslims.

One thing about this mess is even worse than the injustice or the pursuing of a counter-productive policy. It advertises that our government and our society are psychologically weak. Such weakness always invites predators, whether they be the Islamists or other potential opponents, and guarantees the British people a future of insecurity, economic dislocation and crisis.

The ultimate root of the problem is the utopian psychology of human rights, multiculturalism and equalities, which pervades the thinking of our political class, the judiciary and the wider public sector. In that light, is it surprising that the powerless and demoralised British state is obliged to roll out the red carpet for these dangerous traitors?

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Otto Inglis
Otto Inglis
Otto Inglis qualified as a barrister and now runs his own business near Edinburgh

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