Our new Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has said that Britons who leave this country to fight for Islamic State should be “hunted down and killed”. There are currently believed to be around two hundred and seventy such individuals in Syria and Iraq.
It may seem more civilised and humane to say that those people should be brought back here to face our courts and be imprisoned in this country. This is a dangerous position to take.
For a start, though the chances may be slim, there is every possibility that any one of them could escape after being brought back to face justice in this country. In addition to that there is, of course, every chance that a liberal judge could let one of these barbarous individuals off the hook. I can imagine it now: “Oh, but he had family issues and wasn’t in the best frame of mind” or “she has been through so much in her life but has now turned her back on the jihadis”. They would then be released back into British society – I’ll leave it to the reader to think about what could happen then.
Are we, in what I believe is the greatest nation on earth, serious about protecting our people – including our children – or are we not?
Max Hill QC, head of the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, said that the young British people going off to the Middle East to join IS are simply “naïve”. This makes my blood boil. These people know full well what they are doing and know why they are doing it. It does not matter if one is eighteen years young or eighty years old – joining IS means you are joining to kill innocent people because you believe that your God wants you to do so. There is nothing naïve about this. There is only something evil about it.
I am in full agreement with Mr Williamson’s statement that jihadis “hate everything that Britain stands for” and that they despise British values and cannot stand us being “a beacon to the world of democracy and tolerance”. It does not help us to ask why these people go to Iraq and Syria to become jihadis.
Maybe some suffer an identity crisis, mentally torn between being Muslim and between being “British”. Perhaps they feel that the two are not compatible with one another – with non-Muslim British people having created an “us and them” attitude. Or, perhaps, some of them have simply been brainwashed by material they have managed to access online. It could be that some have a profound disillusionment or even pure rage with British foreign policy in the Middle East – particularly with our military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan – and seek to take revenge against us.
No. None of this – none of this, will do. All these things point the blame to Britain, to our government and to our people. What is so difficult about facing up to the facts: that these people are just pure wicked and it is they who should take the blame for every journalist’s head they cut off, for every homosexual they throw off the top of a building, for every woman they rape and every child they execute? It is neither the fault of the British government nor the British people.
It is not just the further threat that these people potentially pose that should deter us from allowing them back here, but the fact they have left to join IS in the first place. They do, in effect, enter a state of war against us. Not just a state of war against our values or everything we stand for, but a state of war against our military and our citizens. Therefore it is only quite right that our armed forces should hunt these wicked and treacherous jihadis down and eliminate them before they are able to do the same to us.
We do not need to “understand” them – what caused them to become jihadis. We only need to understand what a jihadi is and what a jihadi does. They cause, in the words of our Defence Secretary, “destruction, death, bloodshed” and we must ensure that these people are never, ever able to return to this island. If that means taking them out with drone strikes, then so be it.
For every one jihadi made a martyr, there will be millions of British children spared and allowed to live another day.