Ex-Member of Al-Qaeda Warns of Risk of Syria Radicalisation
The BBC’s Today Programme has been told by an ex-member of Al-Qaeda that the government must clearly explain why it has not intervened in Syria, or risk British Muslims being radicalised by joining the conflict.
The unnamed Saudi man who claims to have been an Al-Qaeda fighter for 12 years, over four conflicts, said that the UK Government should explain that British involvement in the conflict is likely to make it worse. And that the civil war is not the Wests making, but rather a result of regional problems.
"Sometimes the West and the Western governments are not good about putting forward their narrative or their counter-narrative explaining that it's not their fault that these conflicts are happening - and therefore trying to explain to their radical Muslim population it is not the West to blame, it is other forces to blame," he said.
"You have to convince people there are other ways to help to alleviate the suffering of others without resorting to violence and militancy and at the same time trying to educate people about the causes of these conflicts."
"I think my experience more or less entitles me to send a message of warning to everyone that this journey could begin with a noble motive and end in a tragedy.”
"The government must spell out clearly to everyone through the media that while they respect and admire the motives of those who want to go there because they want to help others, they do not trust the motives of those who will host them there.”
"They might come back changed people, and also with sinister motives."
The man, who now lives in Britain, first became involved in jihad during the Bosnia conflict in 1994, and went on to be a preacher to new recruits in Afghanistan. His comments come after widespread concerns that British Muslims are becoming radicalised by joining the Syria conflict.
Two weeks ago the newly appointed Immigration Minister James Brokenshire said that he believed the "security concern" linked to Syria was "likely to be with us for the foreseeable future".
Mr Brokenshire said: "A significant proportion and a growing proportion of the security services work is linked to Syria in some way. This is a big problem that the security services and the police are actively focused on.”
“Our biggest worry is when they return they are radicalised”
"It's why they are vigilant, why they are taking the steps that they are around the border and monitoring travel to and from Syria in the way that they are." faith and what the Koran is teaching them and the people who can most influence them are the people who are most qualified to do so."