Young Brits join the jihad in Syria

Good overview in Macleans of the UK “terror tourists” but situating this in the broader context of Mid-East societies:

Terrorism, however, has been a real threat in the U.K., with the “Troubles” in Northern Ireland in the latter half of the 20th century and, more recently, the 2005 attack in central London, where suicide bombers killed 52 people. That led to the creation of the 2006 Terrorism Act; a new offence concerned “preparatory acts” of terror.

The changes were controversial. Tayab Ali is a solicitor whose clients include a number of British citizens who have been accused of terrorism. He believes the 2006 legislation “has the tendency to prosecute people who might be angry and expressing strong political views, but who don’t have any real ambition of participating or supporting terrorism in any way.”

Barrett, the former MI6 officer, understands how bewildering it must be to young men who hear about the humanitarian crisis in Syria and want to act. In June, U.S. President Barack Obama proposed funding “moderate” Syrian rebels at the same time the U.S. and its allies were warning nationals not to join the same groups. “It’s very confusing indeed,” Barrett sighs. But, in the end, “the threat of the returning fighter is a small one, compared to the threat of a complete destabilization and destruction of social cohesion in the Middle East.”

Young Brits join the jihad in Syria.

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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