Saturday, August 23, 2014

Global Impact: Home Secretary May Cracks Down on Radicalization of Britons Abroad

According to Reuters, Great Britain said on Saturday (August 23) it planned tougher laws to deal with British Islamist militants after Islamic State (IS) fighters in the Middle East released a video showing a suspected Briton beheading US journalist James Foley.
British Muslims and politicians have expressed horror at the apparent involvement of a Briton in the murder, which has fed concerns about the number of Islamist militants from Britain joining conflicts abroad and then returning home radicalized.
Authorities are attempting to to identify executioner with a London accent who has been dubbed "Jihadi John" by the media after sources said he was one of three Britons nicknamed who guarded hostages in Raqqa, the IS stronghold in eastern Syria.
COMMENT: Home Secretary (interior minister) Theresa May said she was preparing new laws to tackle Islamist militants at home and to prevent them going abroad to fight, adding that Britain faced a long struggle against a "deadly extremist ideology."
"We will be engaged in this struggle for many years, probably decades. We must give ourselves all the legal powers we need to prevail," May wrote in THE DAILY TELEGRAPH. 
The Interior Minister May said the new powers would be designed to restrict the militants' behavior, ban involvement in groups preaching violence and require prisons, broadcasters, schools and universities to take a greater role in combating the radicalization of Muslims.
May said at least 500 British citizens have traveled to fight in Syria and Iraq, where IS has seized large swathes of territory. Some of the fighters are aged as young as 16.
Britain has approximately 2.7 million Muslims in a total population of 63 million.
The rise of Islamist militants in Britain has been a growing concern since four Britons -- two of whom had been to al-Qaeda training camps in Pakistan killed 52  people in suicide bomb attacks in London in July 2005.
The murder last year of an off-duty soldier, Lee Rigby, on a London street by two British Muslim converts exacerbated the alarm.
The government has already tightened up rules so it can confiscate the passports of people traveling abroad to join conflicts. So far 23 people have had their passports withheld.
May also said 69 people had been arrested for offenses in Britain relating to terrorism in Syria, with 12 charged and four prosecuted, while more than 150 people were refused entry to the UK because their behavior was deemed unacceptable.