Western Jihadists in Syria Threaten to Bring Their War Back Home – The Daily Beast

Maajid Nawaz of the Quillam Foundation on the risks of jihadists currently fighting in Syria and possible blowback upon their return to the West:

We are watching the largest mobilization in a generation of volunteers traveling abroad to join a war. An estimated 11,000 foreign fighters have been mobilized in Syria, according to a just-published study by the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence (PDF). More than a quarter of those combatants are from Western countries, mostly from Britain, France, Germany, Sweden and Belgium. Australians, Canadians and U.S. citizen also have joined the ranks.

But judging by our complacency, you would be forgiven for not knowing this. Partly, that’s because some on the left in Britain and elsewhere have been busy downplaying the conflict or romanticizing it as something akin to the international brigades during the Spanish Civil War that attracted George Orwell and other idealists. But unlike Orwell in the 1930s, these fighters on their way to Syria are not traveling to fight against fascists. Many are young Western Muslims rushing to join a fascist group that is too extreme even for al-Qaeda: the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). Members have been known to behead even fellow fighters. And it’s not much consolation that the more “moderate” volunteers are joining, Jabhat al-Nusra, which is the official Al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria.

Western Jihadists in Syria Threaten to Bring Their War Back Home – The Daily Beast.

Within Canada, a RCMP initiative to reduce the number of potential extremists traveling to Syria or other hotspots:

The tactics used to disrupt extremists varied depending on whether they were preparing to leave Canada, were already abroad or had returned after training or fighting, Assistant Commissioner Malizia said.

By working with other federal agencies, the RCMP was able to determine what “enforcement or mitigation action would be most appropriate depending on the circumstances, grounds and the threat,” he said.

“Amongst others, this could include the removal of a passport. If there is a threat to aviation it could involve a referral for the Specified Persons List led by Public Safety. And in cases where the subject of investigation is not Canadian, the cancellation of a visa.”

But the program may not be able to stop determined extremists. After serving a prison sentence for his role in the Toronto 18 terrorist group, Somali-Canadian Ali Dirie was still somehow able to travel to Syria, where he died last August.

RCMP tracking ‘high-risk’ Canadians to prevent radicalized youths from joining foreign terrorist groups

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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