22:56 GMT23 July 2021
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    The UK government has taken the drastic step of requesting that four British citizens fighting alongside ISIL be placed on a UN sanctions list as part of plans to deter hundreds of other Britons from joining jihadist forces in the Middle East.

    It is the first such move in almost a decade, with the four Britons facing UN travel bans and asset freezes as a result of their actions with ISIL.

    The government’s use of such a heavy ban for the quartet is significant, as it is the first time that London has requested that its own citizens are placed on the UN sanctions list for their collaboration with ISIL, and the first time it has requested bans since UN sanctions were applied to a British al-Qaeda operative in 2006.

    The four Britons are Sally-Anne Jones, a 46-year-old Muslim convert from who married an Isis computer hacker, Aqsa Mahmood, a 21-year-old jihadi bride from Glasgow, Nasser Muthana, a 21-year-old from Cardiff and Omar Hussain, a 28-year-old former supermarket security guard.

    All four are thought to be living in the ISIL stronghold of Raqqa in Syria.

    The ban means that the Britons won’t be able to legally travel through any UN member countries, or keep their assets and money in any UN member state, effectively preventing the jihadists from leaving ISIL controlled territory and returning home.

    British government officials said that the tough bans were implemented to deter other Britons from potentially being tempted by the lure of joining jihadists in the Middle East. A government spokesperson said.

    "As well as the domestic measures we have introduced, such as the power to seize passports, these sanctions are a powerful tool – freezing an individual’s assets and imposing a global travel ban on them. It also sends a clear deterrent message to those thinking of going to fight for ISIL. We will continue to consider whether more individuals should be subjected to the sanctions." 

    Concerns Anti-ISIL Strategy Isn’t Working

    The move comes as Prime Minister David Cameron looks to announce plans to boost the fight against ISIL recruiters. 

    Late last year it was estimated that more than 2,000 Britons had fled to Iraq and Syria fight with ISIL and other Islamist groups, with most experts suggesting that the number is far higher now.

    The announcement of UN sanctions has also been interpreted as a sign that the government’s hard line anti-terror laws have been unsuccessful in preventing people from leaving the country and travelling to Middle East.

    Britain has been accused of taking a reactionary approach rather than a preventative strategy when it comes to limiting radicalization, with some critics blaming the UK’s security services for driving people into extremism through aggression espionage and interrogation techniques.

    Activists in Britain assisting the infamous ISIL fighter Mohammed Emwazi, better known as 'Jihadi John', blamed the country’s security services for pushing him towards radicalization, saying that Emwazi was aggressively hounded by intelligence agencies over his suspected links to jihadist groups.

    Islamic State militant known as Jihadi John
    © Photo : Video screenshot
    Islamic State militant known as Jihadi John

    Others say that Britain should turn towards the Danish style of 'Jihadi rehab' commonly used in Scandinavia.

    The system, which has proven to be successful for returning jihadists, doesn’t punish those returning from fighting in Iraq and Syria unless they have committed a crime, and instead looks to integrate people back into the local community through offering education and employment opportunities.


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    Daesh, Islamist radicals, Islamist militants, radicalization, jihadism, Jihadists, extremists, Syria, United Kingdom
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