MOSCOW, October 22 (RIA Novosti) – The United Kingdom considers fighters returning from Syria and Iraq a serious threat for the country’s security as they are likely to commit terrorist acts in their homeland after their return, Sky News reports.
"We know that over 500 British nationals travelled to join the conflict. Many have returned and many will wish to do so in the coming months and perhaps in future years,” said Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe, adding that former fighters can be dangerous for British communities.
According to UK officials, about five British citizens a week join the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria to wage jihad and commit terrorist activities, reports Sky News.
"We still have an average of five people joining them a week. Five a week doesn't sound much but when you realize there are 50 weeks in a year, 250 more would be 50% more than we think have gone already”, Hogan-Howe claimed.
In September, the UK Government introduced a series of new control measures to prevent individuals from joining radical groups abroad or stop former fighters returning home at the border. Such measures include confiscation of suspects’ passports, cash seizures and arrests.
The United Kingdom is not the only country affected by the phenomenon of “European jihadists”. According to last estimations, 325 young Muslims from Belgium left the country to join the Islamic State abroad, as stated by EUbusiness.
According to imam Mimoun Aquichouh, many of those young people had no proper education, were socially isolated and had problems with legal authorities. Personal struggles, efforts to find their cultural identities and lack of appreciation in the community backed by an efficient militant propaganda has driven young people to join Islamist cause.
The propaganda tools used by militant groups are highly efficient, as video and photos depict well-off “masters of their own destiny with plenty of land and money,” EUbusiness reports.
"What they forgot to say in the propaganda is that behind all that there are bombs, there are tanks, there is a dirty war with people killed and seriously wounded," Mimoun Aquichouh said.
He is confident, that a community response, including religious teaching, youth clubs and social work can help to eliminate radicalization and keep young people from joining terrorist groups.