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Sending Them Back to Al Qaeda

This is a guest post by Marko 

It took the miseries of the Great Depression to persuade Germans to vote for the Nazis in large numbers. Likewise, there are powerful economic inducements pushing young people in Muslim countries to join the Islamists. Denied any prospects for work or education in their homelands, young people in Pakistan, Afghanistan and elsewhere turn to al Qaeda or the Taliban, who appear to offer them a future and a cause. Tragically, Britain’s clumsy, brutal system of immigration and asylum, shaped in large part by the need to appease the Daily Mail constituency, is contributing to this process of Islamist recruitment. Our system sends young refugees – who might have made a valuable contribution to the economic and cultural wealth of our country – back home to swell the ranks of our enemies. We are talking about youngsters whose interest in radical Islam is about as profound as the interest of British kids in US gangsta culture, but whom we are helping to turn into genuine Islamic warriors.

This point is made powerfully in the guest post on my blog by Nadja Stamselberg. Nadja teaches English as a second language to young people from several Muslim countries, and is herself of refugee background, having arrived in the UK in 1992 to escape the war in her native Bosnia. As she writes:

“My initial reaction when he told me that if he gets sent back home he will join al Qaeda was to dismiss it as another provocative remark. Looking for a reaction, some of the students would talk about al Qaeda, Taliban and Osama Bin Laden, boasting about their support for their cause and playing up to the stereotypes imposed on them by society. However, I was soon to realise that his statement was not a childish attempt at attention seeking, but an option he was seriously considering. His motifs were neither a religious fervour nor a dislike of the West and its values. On the contrary, they were a frantic plea for some structure, direction and security, whatever that might be. Feeling let down by his own family, country and eventually by the United Kingdom, which had supposed to provide him with a safe haven and another shot at the normal life and education he so desperately craved, he would be a perfect target for recruiting. Preying at disillusioned youth with no jobs and no hope, al Qaeda offers to fill the vacuum left by poverty, lack of education and displaced and destroyed family units. Youth, inexperience and feelings of hopelessness make al Qaeda’s newfound followers susceptible to all sorts of anti-Western sentiments disguised as ‘anti-imperialist’ ones.”

In other words, ‘sending them back’ means sending people who would actually prefer to live the way that we in the UK live, back home to join the Islamists