The extent of British passport-holders going to fight in the Levant now means that British citizens may be facing each other across battle lines. The Mirror has revealed that at least one Londoner has joined Kurdish forces fighting ISIS in Iraq.
Mama Kurda, an engineering graduate who ran a hair salon in Croydon, was inspired to join the Kurdish army when he heard about ISIS “raping Kurdish women and killing Kurdish kids”. Despite the fact he may technically be breaking British law by fighting abroad, Mama insists he is a British patriot and has his adopted home country’s best interests at heart. In an interview with The Mirror he said:
“I am a proud British citizen. London, all of the UK is my land too… how I defend Kurdistan, I am also ready to defend UK as well, [what I am doing now] is not only for Kurdistan… but some of my fighting is to defend UK as well. Because the group of ISIS, they are terrorists. They threaten even the West”
“Especially when I read 500 people with the terrorists are from Britain. I have to show to the world there is a British citizen fighting against them.”
Although Mama is clearly very fond of Britain, and praises it for allowing religious freedom he feels is under threat in the nation that would be Kurdistan, he does not feel the same way about all British passport holders. When asked what he would do if he was confronted with a British member of ISIS, he replied:
“I will kill him, yes. I mean, they are inhuman. They are brainwashed, they are committed to what they are doing.”
Although threatening to kill another person and fighting in a foreign army are both illegal for British citizens, the Home Office appears laid back about this particular fighter, while taking a harder line on those joining ISIS. The Mirror quotes a home office official as saying “Fighting in a foreign war is not automatically an offence but will depend on the nature of the conflict and the individual’s own activities”. It is possible this softer approach may encourage more British Kurds to take up arms against militant Islam.
Kurdish nationalism is on the rise as it comes under attack by ISIS, and they emerge as an increasingly likely ally for the West in the region. A recent protest by Kurds outside Downing street called upon the Prime Minister to take action in the area and supply military assistance, as reported by Breitbart London.