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UK deradicalisation program a massive fail

By Russell Grenning - posted Thursday, 21 June 2018

According to the Mail on Sunday (UK), which has sighted documented details of this still secretive plan, the idea is to offer British jihadists who have returned from fighting with Islamic State in Syria help finding jobs and privileged access to social housing.

While full details are yet to emerge, it was more or less flagged only recently by Max Hill QC, the government's watchdog on terrorism laws who said that some "teenagers" who had "travelled (to join ISIS) out of a sense of naivety, possibly with some brainwashing along the way" might not be prosecuted.

He said that authorities "should be looking towards reintegration and moving away from any notion that we are going to lose a generation thanks to this travel."


The Mail on Sunday said documents relating to Operation Constrain showed that as many as 20,000 fanatics, previously investigated by security services, could be offered the sweeteners to persuade them to reject violent radical Islam. It has been reported that this plan has been drawn up by the Home Office, police and local authorities and that it is tipped to begin next year.

Already, this proposal has been strongly attacked. Terrorism expert Professor Anthony Glees of Buckingham University said, "You cannot bribe people not to be terrorists" while Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen added, "This sounds like a reward for being on a list of potential terrorists. You can't buy people's loyalty to this country." A former radical Islamist turned anti-extremist Sohail Ahmed said, "There are still some people in this country who are still loyal to what Britain stands for and I don't think they will be having any of this. I sincerely hope these plans do not go ahead."

It seems that the government hasn't given much thought - if any thought at all - to what ordinary law-abiding people languishing on a long list waiting for a council house think about returning terrorists being given housing priority and special help to get jobs.

While careful not to actually acknowledge Operation Constrain (or rule it out), a Home Office spokesman said the government was "committed to doing everything possible to protect our communities from the threat of terrorism" and "...we are exploring the best ways of doing this with our partners."

At least one government minister is less than enthralled by the idea.

Prisons Minister Rory Stewart said the only way to deal with British Islamic State fighters was to kill them "in almost every case". "These are people who have essentially moved away from any kind of allegiance towards the British government. They are absolutely dedicated, as members of the Islamic State, towards the establishment of a caliphate, they believe in an extremely hateful doctrine which involves killing themselves, killing others and trying to use violence and brutality to create an eighth or seventh century state."


Mr Stewart does know a thing or two about Islamic extremism - he was a civilian administrator in Iraq in 2003-04 and later a humanitarian worker in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, the deeply flawed Prevent strategy which is requiring the more than 410,00 academic and non-academic university staff across the UK to become part of an Orwellian state surveillance program, the outcome is not just a massive fail but, even worse, it is lulling UK people into believing that something effective is being done.

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About the Author

Russell Grenning is a retired political adviser and journalist who began his career at the ABC in 1968 and subsequently worked for the then Brisbane afternoon daily, The Telegraph and later as a columnist for The Courier Mail and The Australian.

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