Britons Abroad

Cross-posted on The Corner

Via The Daily Telegraph:

An influential British-based preacher is leading an armed gang of more than a hundred Islamist fighters in Syria, it can be disclosed. In a video posted on the internet in the last few days, Abu Basir al-Tartusi can be seen on a balcony surrounded by Kalashnikov waving rebels after apparently capturing a hilltop village in the war-torn country.

Security sources believe that dozens of British extremists, possibly as many as 50, have travelled to Syria to join the fighting and some may have been recruited by Basir. This week a junior doctor of Bangladeshi origin from, East London was charged with kidnapping two photographers in Syria, where he was said to be part of a 15-strong group of Britons.

The security services are concerned that the brutal conflict in Syria could become a “new Afghanistan” drawing in young men who return to Britain radicalised and keen to continue a fight to spread Islam.A source said the numbers were “small but increasing” and there were concerns about “who they meet and the knowledge they could gain.”

Basir, whose real name is Abdal Munem Mustafa Halima, was running classes at the al-Ansar Institute in Poplar, East London just months ago. He has his own website and his sermons are readily available on the internet. The preacher has been based in Britain since fleeing the Assad regime following an uprising in the early 1980s.

He has been compared with fellow preacher Abu Qatada and was described by one academic as one of the “most influential and most prolific radical scholars in the world right now” and by another as one of the “primary Salafi [fundamentalist] opinion-makers guiding the jihadi movement…”

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1 Response to Britons Abroad

  1. Steve Cardon says:

    It would seem at first glance that such small numbers of individuals are not so alarming, but for two things:
    One) Islamist radicals who obtain an asymetrical skill-set abroad, may and likely will train many more eager apprentices at home.
    Two) their primary loyalty’s and affiliations will be cemented abroad in the “heat of battle”.

    Will it not become necessary at some point (one more “9-11” or train bombing)for nations to tell these individuals “If you go to fight for someone other than us who we deem a threat, you will not be welcomed back”?

    Islamist leaders in the Middle East know that they are running out of time. If they don’t act soon, their children will go the way of western ideas, and what remains of the islamic power bases will erode away into irrelevancies.

    What do the youth love?… they love excitement, they love a noble cause they can immerse themselves in. Young men love an enemy who is wrong where they are right and against which to prove their worthiness before their peers. Do not be surprised if British or American nationalism is not foremost in their minds. In any society there is a “caste” system, despite the best efforts of some well meaning individuals to pretend it does not exist, and. Muslim men know full well how they are generally viewed in this respect. A new Islamic Caliphate on the other hand would provide the conquering jihadists a high status indeed.

    I expect it to be increasingly demanded upon us in turbulent times ahead to not only declare our own weighted hierarchies of loyalty, but to declare our positions on how we feel those with differently ordered and weighted priorities and affiliations are dealt with. This is not a trivial consideration in time of war, it is life or death for those minority opinions who may be on the receiving end of an unfavorable determination, nevertheless…

    When a new rallying figure, or coalition of islamic leaders emerges, organized with a narrative cohesive enough to galvanize romantic muslims in countries all across the West, do not be offended or surprised that these young men line up to join. They will believe they are called to a higher mission, and that Allah is testing their worthiness… the lives of your friends and loved ones may be the proving ground.

    Not all Muslims are radical or violent, most probably believe themselves to be loyal citizens of their respective countries. No fair-minded person is advocating a religious or ethnic mass expulsion, or even trying to suggest to any given country what their immigration policy should or shoud be. Different national dynamics demand unique and tailored policy.

    It does, however, call into question whether the Liberal desire to grant blanket “benefits of the doubt” to returning Jihadi’s will last long in the face of the inevitable string of related terrorist attacks that are almost certainly due to take place in Europe and America.

    Security, or the lack thereof will always win out in the end. It speaks to the strongest of our emotions… fear.

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