SHOCKING: Are there more British Muslims fighting for the Islamic State than for British military?
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
8/25/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
It's a shocking figure that has many questioning immigration laws. Britain's Ministry of Defense has confirmed that there are approximately 600 British Muslim service members in its armed forces of almost 200,000 people. In a momentous slap to the West - and decency in general, it's likely that there are now more British Muslims fighting for the Islamic State than for Britain's military.
Many young men facing poor job prospects in the U.K. find the IS narrative of defending Islam hard to resist.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Official government estimates put the number of British Islamic State fighters operating in Syria and Iraq at up to 800, although the Foreign Office cautioned that it is difficult to provide precise numbers.
In a foremost example and a palpable moment of outright horror, the militant who beheaded American journalist James Foley in a horrifying video released this week spoke with a British accent. United Kingdom Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond acknowledged that the militant in the video could be a British national. British jihadists are not a new idea, he says.
"This is something we have been tracking and dealing with for many, many months and I don't think this video changes anything," he said. "It just heightens awareness of a situation which is very grave."
While listed in the hundreds, Khalid Mahmood, a member of Parliament from an area with a high proportion of Muslim residents, says that government estimates of the number of British Islamic State fighters currently in the Mideast is far too conservative. Mahmood told reporters that at least 1,500 extremists are likely to have been recruited to fight in Iraq and Syria over the last three years. "There are an unacceptable number of Britons fighting for jihadist forces," he said.
In contrast with the United Kingdom, experts say the number of Americans fighting for the Islamic State is much lower. Joseph Young, a criminology professor at American University and expert on political violence, said simple geography and the complex cultural differences between the U.S. and Europe are primary reasons why. Traveling to Syria or Iraq is extremely complicated from North America, in contrast with Europe, which is literally the Islamic State's back yard.
"We also do a better job of integrating our minority communities," Young said. "Isolation of minority groups is a much bigger problem in Europe."
Syria and Iraq are relatively accessible from England, Raffaello Pantucci, a researcher at Royal United Services Institute in London says. Many young men facing poor job prospects in the U.K. find the IS narrative of defending Islam hard to resist.
"These people can go look online and just decide to participate," he said. "With its proximity to Europe it's just so easy to do."
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